By Yankuba Jallow
Sulayman Alieu Jack, an erstwhile Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defense who is now Gambia’s ambassador to Ethiopia, has told the TRRC that General Guadebe was a notorious coup maker and he was needed in his country.
Jack said this on Monday the 25th March 2019 while testifying before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).
He said General Abacha, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sent Guadebe to replace General Dada as the head of the Nigerian soldiers in the Gambia.
“President Abacha did that because he knew Guadebe was a known coupist in Nigeria. Abacha wanted him out of Nigeria and deployed him to the Gambia,” the witness said.
He said as the PS Ministry of Defense, he was assigned to write the letter of appointment of General Guadebe. He said Guadebe was appointed on a two-year contract and he was tasked to maintain discipline and orderliness in the GNA.
He said after Guadebe succeeded General Dada, he (Dada) decided not to leave the Gambia. He said Guadebe was appointed on the 6th June 1994 and the coup happened on 22nd July 1994. The witness indicated that the coup met the army commander in his home country, Nigeria. He said at the time of the coup, Colonel Acoji was the acting army chief in place of Guadebe.
He explained that the Saihou Sabally went to Nigeria to negotiate with General Abacha in Nigeria to negotiate for him to allow General Dada to continue his duties in the Gambia.
About the July 1994 Coup
The witness has denied having any knowledge about the July 1994 coup d’état. He said as a civilian, he had no authority to change any activity that the military was required to carry out. In response to the allegation that he was the one who changed the venue of the supposed activity that the American soldiers were to do in the Gambia, he said the allegation is unfounded. He told the Commission that ex-VP Sabally had no hand in the July 1994 coup.
He said the amalgamation of the Gendarmerie into the GPF was a very big mistake by the PPP government. He said the Gendarmerie was a support outfit for the army with paramilitary functions whereas the police were law discipline and law enforcement officers.
About the witness
He said he was born on the 15th July 1958 in Banjul. He gave a run-down of his career in the civil service as well as his educational background. He indicated that he had held different positions such as permanent secretary in various government miniseries. He told the Commission that when the July 1994 took place by members of the Gambia National Army (GNA), he was retired from the last position he held in government which was Permanent-Secretary Ministry of Defense. He is now the Ambassador of the Gambia to Ethiopia.