By Momodou Jarju
Pa Modou Sarr, former Gambian soldier, has apologized to Gambians and his senior in particular Lt. Colonel Babucarr Sanyang, for torturing him during his arrest and detention at Mile II in early 1995.
According to him, what he did was unlawful and regrettable, thus he asked for the forgiveness of his senior for mishandling him, adding that he would kneel before Sanyang if the opportunity is accorded to him.
He blamed Alagie Martin, a warrant officer then and a general in the army now, for his actions because he brought him to participate in the torturing of Sanyang. Sarr’s assertion has now joined him to several other TRRC witnesses who implicated Alagie Martin for ordering and leading tortures meted out to detainees during the reign of terror of erstwhile Gambian President Yahya Jammeh who is currently in exile in Equatoria Guinea.
The event occurred during the aftermath of the arrest of Lt. Sanna B Sabally and the late Sadibou Hydara, both former council members of the defunct AFPRC, who were accused of plotting to overthrow the then chairman of the junta, Yahya Jammeh, an allegation Sabally vehemently denied before the truth commission. Colonel Sanyang was among the noticeable people arrested following the alleged coup plot.
Nonetheless, Sarr said he only participated in the torturing of Colonel Babucarr Sanyang throughout his military carrier. However, he confessed to have witnessed the torturing of Sanna Sabally and Sadibou Hydara.
When quizzed by lead counsel, Essa Faal, as to why did he not resist to partake in an unlawful exercise, Sarr said he had to comply with the orders from Martin else he could face the consequences of being arrested and taken to Mile II.
Sarr said Alagie Martin gave him a nylon bag and ordered him to put it over the head of Colonel Sanyang as he watched them do a similar thing to Sabally and Hydara earlier, which he did. He said he followed the instructions given to him and the victims suffocated in pain in the process.
Sarr also said Malafi Corr, Omar Ndure and Senghor also participated in the beating and torturing of Sanna Sabally and Sadibou Hydara, on a session that lasted for more than 30 minutes for each.
“I put the nylon bag over Babucarr’s head for seconds and then Martin said I remove it and Martin asked him (you Babucarr, Sanna, Sadibou and other men) are trying to overthrow the chairman? Sanyang said, ‘negative… I have never wanted to,” Sarr explained.
He said he left the State Guard and was taken to plain clothes in 1996/97 and left the army 6 years after service, saying he did want to be involved in any unlawful act and that he could have been a victim one day.