Lawyer Concludes Marathon Interrogation of Witness in Coup Trial


By Kemeseng Sanneh (KEXX)

Lawyer Lamin S. Camara on Tuesday, 28 February continued with his extended cross-examination of Captain Mamat Cham of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF).

Captain Cham appeared on 21 February 2023 and gave evidence in the alleged foiled coup involving some members of GAF who allegedly wanted to unseat President Adama Barrow.

Cham said he did the basic military training together with Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera (the alleged ring leader) in 2008. He testified that Fadera came to his house in the night and informed him about his planned coup plot. Captain Cham explained that he engaged his superiors and one operative of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to foil the coup. He gave a detailed testimony on his efforts to foil the coup resulting in the subsequent arrest and detention of Sanna Fadera.

Lawyer Camara began the cross-examination on the same day and he concluded on Tuesday.

Captain Cham said he called Sergeant Dawda Komma who told him that Sanna Fadera had called him and informed him about his planned coup attempt. He added that Sergeant Komma undertook to stab Sanna Fadera wherever the two of them meet.

Lawyer Camara pressed the witness to cite from his written statement where he mentioned his conversation with Sergeant Komma. The witness said that was what Sergeant Komma told him, but he cannot remember whether it was captured in his statement.

The witness said there was an operational plan for the coup plot which Sanna Fadera showed to him in the night when he visited him at Farato. The witness admitted that in his statement he did not use the word “operational plan”. He explained that an operational plan details the plan of the operation.

The witness maintained that after reading the operational plan he saw that the coup would have used battalions and he knew that was beyond him [as a Captain].

Lawyer Camara told the witness that his written statement did not capture most of his testimonies before the court, but Captain Cham said it could have been an oversight. Lawyer Camara’s questions were mainly trying to show the court that the witness’ testimony before the court was not contained in his written statement.

On the operational plan, the witness said he can’t remember the content of the operational plan, adding that he could not remember whether it had names of people and signature.

The witness said an army battalion could be moved by a Major or Lieutenant.

“It is correct that the first accused (Sanna Fadera) cannot move a battalion?” Lawyer Camara asked.

“I cannot answer that, but in some situations, a junior officer can move a battalion,” the witness answered.

The witness said under normal circumstances a junior officer cannot move a battalion.

The witness said he was instructed severally by his superiors to get a record of Sanna Fadera, who at the time promised to visit him for the second time. He explained that he was not able to record Sanna Fadera.

The other defence lawyers told the court that they do wish to cross-examine the witness.

The case was adjourned to today (2nd March) at 1 pm for the State to call a new witness.