By Yankuba Jallow
Sanna B. Sabally, an erstwhile vice chairman of the defunct AFPRC has given graphic details of tortures supervised by Brigadier-General Alagie Martin.
While testifying before the TRRC on Thursday, 25th November 2019, he told the Commission that Alagie Martin and his team of torturers tortured Ex-Captain Sadibou Hydara until he dies.
“Sadibou Hydara died as a result of the tortures meted on him by Alagie Martin and his men. Alagie Martin was their commander and every day they come to torture us (Sabally and Hydara); he was their head. They have tortured me over 20 instances,” Sabally said.
Hydara was the Secretary of State for Interior and also a member of the defunct AFPRC government.
“Malafi Corr used to come with a hammer and there is no part of my body that he doesn’t use it on,” Sabally said.
He said the late Sadibou Hydara also went through everything he went through.
He said the torture meted on ex-captain Sadibou Hydara by Alagie Martins who is still serving in the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) and his men resulted to his subsequent demise. He said the members of Alagie Martin’ team of torturers were Malafi Corr, Lance Corporal Lamin Sengore, one Ndour, Pa Modou Sarr, Batch Samba Jallow (a driver to Edward Singhatey) and Private Baboucar Bobb.
He said the late captain Hydara died on the 6th June 1995 at 16:17.
“Sadibou Hydara died in my hands. I watched him till he died,” Sabally told the Commission.
He said his demise came about when the tormentors (Martin and co.) used an iron rod and beat his testicles until his entire body was bleeding.
“From this time until he died, he was bleeding,” Sabally told the TRRC.
Sanna added that he also faced the same torture like Sadibou which nearly made him sterile though after serving his sentence, he underwent treatment.
“Now I am partly healed,” he said.
Attempts to Poison Him
He said a few months before his release from prison there had been attempts on his life. He said he was told by one of the cooks to be careful because one Superintendent Yaya Jarju always puts something in his food. He said from this time, he avoided eating from what he used to be served and the cook will provide him with something else.
He said on the 29th August 2003, one Nfamara Sanneh an army officer injected him with an injection that caused his legs to be longer than each other.
At the NIA
He said the investigators used different forms of torture to torture him for him to sign a document indicating that he attempted to take the life of Yahya Jammeh, adding that he has never surrendered to their request. He said after every torture meted on him, the tormentors would bring tape recorder for him to subdue to their demand and if he resists then the torture will continue until he fainted then they will stop.
He said he was tortured severely at the NIA and Mile II. He gave a rundown of his and Hydara’s torture in the hands of Brigadier-General Alagie Martin and his men adding that Malafi Corr was the one who used to come with a hammer that he used to beat them.
“Malafi Corr tortured me until I lost my tooth using his hammer,” Sabally said.
He said there was a day when these men came for him and took him to security wing 5 while he was naked. He said they forced his head into a liquid that has acid and gasoline.
“They put my head in that bucket having the liquid until I fainted. They put my head in a plastic bag,” Sanna explained.
He said there were days when the team of torturers buried him alive thrice. He said they pushed him in a grave and covered him up with sand up to his neck and brought a tape recorder and asked him to say he wanted to kill Chairman Jammeh. He stated that he did not yield to their demand.
Also, he said there was a day when Alagie Martin and his men forced him to defecate and eat it but he couldn’t defecate at that time. He said he was severely tortured by the team, especially Lamin Senghore.
He also gave a depressed testimony of his several tortures at the beachside by his tormentors (Martins and co). He said they used to put his head in the water until he fainted and they would remove him and when he starts to regain consciousness, the process of torture would continue.
He told the Commission there was a day when the team of tormentors tied him and put him in a groundnut bag and hung him up.
“I was in the bag upside down until I fainted,” Sabally testified.
He said there was a day when Alagie Martin and Lamin Senghore electrocuted him on his private part and his trunk.
“Alagie Martin and Lamin Senghore were always present whenever we were being tortured,” Sabally said.
He said at all times, he was been tortured, he was always naked. He said there was a day when the tormentors used a needle and inserted it into his penis.
He said on another day, he was taken to the NIA headquarters to witness the torture of two women by personnel of the NIA, adding that they promised that they would continue to torture them until he agreed to sign the document that he wanted to take the life of Yahya Jammeh.
“He said he did not sign the document. The women were tortured by inserting bananas into their womanhood. One of them cannot conceive anymore and the other cannot copulate now,” he said.
He said he was dragged along with the late Hydara on the floor at the NIA headquarters.
Continuation of his Testimony on the November 11 Foil Coup
Ex-Captain Sabally said the AFPRC members held a meeting at the State House and concluded that the ring leaders of the 11th November 1994 foiled coup should be executed.
“Chairman Yahya Jammeh told me clearly that ‘you have to execute the ring leaders,” Sabally said.
He said after two of the ring leaders were executed at the Fajara Barracks under his commandment, he proceeded to Radio Gambia (now GRTS) where he made an announcement about the circumstances of the coup and apologized to the people of Bakau for the sleepless night.
He said from Radio Gambia, he proceeded to the State House where the Council held a meeting about the remaining ring leaders. He said they agreed that the remaining ones who were captured should be executed while those on the run should be captured. He said they went to the Yundum Barracks and took out the ring leaders from the cells.
“We were there to execute them (the ring leaders),” Sabally noted.
He said the ring leaders were put in a Land Rover and taken to a range around Siffoe and executed.
“I Sanna B. Sabally gave the order for the execution at the range. All Council members except Yahya Jammeh along with Peter Singhatey and our orderlies participated in the execution exercise. I take full responsibility,” Sabally confessed.
He said the executed soldiers and officers at the range were; Lieutenant Gibril Saye, Cadet Amadou Sillah, Lieutenant ML Darboe, Bakary Manneh alias ‘Nyancho’, Abdoulie Bah and Buba Jammeh.
He explained that at the Guard Room of the Yundum Barracks, he nearly shot ex-Captain Edward Singhatey because he shot Corporal Alagie Kebbeh on his tight whilst he was interrogating him as to his knowledge about the foiled coup.
He said after the execution was done, he gave the order for the soldiers to be buried at the Yundum Barracks but the burial did not take place in his presence. He said at the State House, the Council members discussed the ring leaders who were on the run including Lieutenant Binneh Minteh and Sajakal Joof.
The Establishment of the NCC
Sabally said the National Consultative Committee (NCC) was formed by the AFPRC to consult with the members of the public as to how long they want the Council to stay.
“I was totally not in support of the establishment of the NCC,” Sabally said adding that this was because before they embarked on the coup, they all swore by the Quran and Bible that they will hand over the government after six (6) months in office. He said, therefore, the establishment of the NCCE was not necessary.
Sabally indicated that he and Sadibou Hydara’s opposition for their stay beyond six (6) months and the establishment of the NCC was not taken lightly by the other Council members. He said Baba Jobe, Foday Barry, Saul Ndow and one police officer Jobarteh came to his office and informed him the idea to form the 22nd July Movement.
“I told them categorically that I am not against their move and they could carry on with their plan but I will leave after 6 months,” he said.
He said Yahya Jammeh was looking for two and a half years. He expounded that when the NCC submitted its report to Chairman Yahya Jammeh, he talked to the Chairman about the report but the Chairman asked him to come to his office the following morning to talk about it.
“When I came the following morning, I was arrested and taken to Mile II,” Sabally said.
He said he was arrested on the 27th January 1995 at the State House. He added that a day or so before his arrest, ex-Captain Edward Singhatey informed him that he should hand over all weapons he had in his possession because civilians feared ministers having them in their offices. He added that he complied and handed over all the weapons. He said he later realised that it was a plan to weaken him whenever he resisted arrest.
He said he was arrested by Kalifa Bajinka, Almamo Manneh, Malafi Corr, Musa Jammeh, Batch Samba Jallow and others on the corridor of the office of Chairman Jammeh.
“They disarmed me, they brought me down and my legs were tied. A few minutes later Sadibou Hydara came and went through the same process,” Sabally said.
He said when Sadibou Hydara was being arrested, Edward Singhatey pointed a gun on the forehead of Hydara.
“I told him not to fire (shoot Sadibou),” Sabally adduced.
He said he has never attempted to take the life of Yahya Jammeh, contrary to the news that was broadcast on Radio Gambia that he attempted to kill Chairman Jammeh.
He said he was tried at a court-martial and was convicted on the 23rd December 1995 and sentenced to imprisonment for 9 years which he served completely.
He said Captain Momodou Badjie did not participate in any of the execution because he was in the provinces as a governor. He also said Justice Fafa Edrisa Mba’I was the one who guided the Council in the process of coming up with the decrees because he was the legal-minded man and none of the council members was legal-minded.
Sanna Sabally apologized to the whole Gambia, families of victims of November 11 soldiers as well as civilians who had suffered in his hands and the ex-ministers of the PPP government.
“I came out of prison not bitter but better. I have forgiven all those who tortured me,” Sanna stated.
He called on all soldiers to stay in the barracks and execute their constitutional mandate of defending the territorial integrity of the country and not to participate in politics. He challenged officers to attend to their juniors whenever they seek for redress.
“Let us all stay in the barracks and officers should endeavour to address the complaints of their juniors,” the witness said.
“I am appealing to Gambians to forgive me. I was a young person without experience,” he said.
Sabally expressed his desire to meet the families of the November 11 fallen soldiers.
He said there were a lot of institutional failures in the Gambia.