By Yankuba Jallow & Nelson Manneh
Edward Singhatey has admitted responsibility for the killings of several people and torture of politicians at Mile II during the period they ruled the country..
Singhatey was the Vice-Chairman and the Minister of Defence of the defunct Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) that ruled the Gambia from 1994 to 1996. The Gambia was ruled by decrees and the 1970 Constitution was suspended.
Singhatey admitted responsibility for the killing of several soldiers on 11th November 1994 and torture of politicians among others.
November 11th, 1994
He said they were informed about a coup in the making and they decided to attack the alleged plotters in their barracks.
Singhatey said before they were deployed from the State House they were ordered by Yahya Jammeh, the former head of Sate ‘not to take any prisoner’ – meaning they should crush (kill) them.
“As we were leaving the State House, Yahya Jammeh told usto take no prisoner and Sanna Sabally said yes sir and that is what we executed,” he said.
“We converged at the state house and started the procedure, but we agree to go and crush the coup and retake the barracks that is what we agreed on,” he said.
“We all agreed to go and crush the coup,” he said.
He said the plan to take no prisoner was not agreed because at that time, they did not know whether they will even survive.
“How can you predict that you are going into combat and know exactly what the outcome is going to be,” he said.
He said there was an exchange of gunshot at the Yundum Barracks before the camp was finally taken over. He added that there were no casualties as a result of the exchange of fire. He said they took over the guard room and the sentries were replaced by loyal soldiers. He said there was a group that was designated to arrest Lieutenant Basirou Barrow whenever he arrives in the Barracks.
“Basirou Barrow was arrested and beaten by the soldiers who captured,” he said, adding that “he was beaten before he was put in the cell and many soldiers participated in his beating.”
He said there was so much anger on those who plotted the coup.
“These people wanted to kill us. They wanted to kill our families,” he said.
“I did not do anything to stop the beatings. All those who were arrested were beaten,” he said.
He said a group of soldiers came in a vehicle and they exchanged fire. He added that some of them were captured while some escaped. He said Lieutenant ‘Dot’ Faal was arrested and was put in a truck together with Basirou Barrow and they were taken to the Fajara Barracks.
He said they then moved to Yundum Barracks, then to Fajara Barracks where two soldiers were executed. He said the execution that took place at the Fajara Barracks was in pursuant to the order ‘don’t take any prisoner’, adding that it is different from the agreement of crushing the coup.
He said the order for killing the men was given by Sanna Sabally and it was executed. He said weather he shoots or not, he accepts the fact that he was there at the time and his men were part of it.
“I did not give the order,” he said.
“I have participated and I am not running away from my responsibility for the execution of the order that we all agreed. I take the full responsibility for the action whether I discharged my weapon or not, I was there and I was in the line,” he said.
After the execution of Basirou Barrow and Abdoulie ‘Dot’ Faal in Fajara, he said they went back to the State House and from there, they went to the Yundum Barracks and the execution of soldiers were furthered.
“When we arrived at Yundum, Sabally gave the order that the ring leaders should be executed and we did so,” he said.
He said in Yundum, they executed Lieutenant Fafa Nyang, A.M. Ceesay and one Camara.
“They were ordered out of the cell and the soldiers around were asked to shoot at them. Sanna Sabally gave the orders and I also instructed them to shoot at them and they were all shot by the soldiers,” he said.
He apologized to the families of Fafa Nyang and all those soldiers that were executed at both Yundum and Fajara Barracks.
“I wish some of my actions could be revised. I regretted my actions and I seek forgiveness from them,” he said.
He said when they returned to the State House and Sanna Sabally updated Jammeh about their mission, Jammeh asked them to return to go and kill the remaining members.
He said they went to the Yundum Barracks and brought out the detainees and they were tied so that they wouldn’t escape. He said the detainees were transported to somewhere around Brikama and they were executed. He denied shooting anyone of them, although he admitted going with the envoy to the execution ground.
Singhatey said he participated in the execution of Abdoulie Bah, Bakary Manneh, Momodou Lamin Darboe, Cadet Amadou Sillah and Lieutenant Gibril Seye, but he said he did not shoot at anyone of them.
“We gave the orders and we supervised their execution,” he said.
He said after they were executed, they were buried at Yundum Barracks and they left for State House later.
Torture of Civilians
He denied torturing any of the security detainees on the 6th September 1994.
“I did not touch anybody. I did not point my gun to anyone,” he said.
“When they were brought out of their cells, I was there standing and I did not stop the beating. I was not a bystander. I was a full participant in the process of interrogation,” he said.
He said himself and Yankuba Touray, Peter Singhatey and Sadibou Hydara did not brutalize any of them. He said he couldn’t remember seeing Sanna Sabally participating in the brutalization of these helpless detainees, though he admitted that Sanna Sabally was the one giving the orders.
He denied shooting at Corporal Alagie Kebbeh. Kebbeh was shot on his left leg and he adduced that he was shot by Edward Singhatey. Singhatey said the testimony of Kebbeh was inaccurate.
“I threatened to shoot him but I didn’t shoot at him. Someone shot at him from the sides. I am not running away from responsibility. I own up the responsibility, but I haven’t shot Alagie Kebbeh,” Singhatey said.