By Nelson Manneh
Yankuba Touray, a member of the defunct AFPRC military junta and Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay, an ex-Speaker of the National Assembly have on Friday, the 22nd March 2019, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to commit felony and interfering with information or witness.
Testifying before the Kanifing Magistrate’s Court, Alagie Kanyi, a staff of the Immigration Department who recently confessed to killing soldiers during the attempted coup on November 11, 1994, while he was a member of the Gambia Armed Forces, said he knew the first accused person Yankuba Touray in the Army and recognized the second accused person, Fatoumata Jahumpa, as a former speaker of the National Assembly.
Narrating what transpired between him and the accused persons, Kanyi said there was a day in the month of January 2019 when he received a call from someone who identified herself as FJC. He added that the person who called him was speaking in Wollof and told him that “it is Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay”. Kanyi narrated that the caller then told him that she recognized him from Edward Singhatey’s resident.
Kanyi adduced that FJC referred to him as an orderly to Edward Singhatey and that she got his number from Yankuba Touray. He added that the lady asked him whether the TRRC has called him (the witness).
The witness told the court that he responded to the lady that he was called by the TRRC in relation to the November 11th1994 incident.
Kanyi adduced that Jahumpa Ceesay told him not to mind them (The TRRC) and asked him whether his mother is there.
“I told her ‘yes my mother is around’ and she told me ‘be doing good things for her’ so that she will pray for me,” he said.
The witness told the court that Jahumpa asked him where he was and he told her that he was in Soma going home to Sankuya. He said Jahumpa further asked her either the number she called him on is the one he is using on WhatsApp and he responded in the positive. Kanyi said Jahumpa promised to send him something whenever she reaches Dakar because she was on a trip, adding that that was where their conversation ended.
“When she cut off the call, I then called her back and thanked her for the good advice. I told her that I needed her advice because the TRRC is not easy,” he said.
He said the number he was using on WhatsApp is 7633692. He told the court that that was his first conversation with Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay; adding he has never had any previous communications with her.
The witness said it was on the same day that Yankuba Touray called him around 9 pm towards 10 pm and identified himself as Yanks with regimental number 10529.
“He said ‘is me Yankuba Touray’ and even told me his Army number which is ‘10529’. I then responded to him ‘yes sir’ because I recognized the voice and he told me ‘did these people call you’? I asked him which people. He then told me the TRRC,” the witness narrated.
He said Touray asked him whether he went to the TRRC and what issues the investigators asked him. Kanyi said he responded that he was called by the TRRC, but he was yet to be asked about the issues.
He explained that thereafter, Touray told him ‘don’t mind them’ (the TRRC) and he (Touray) enquired from him whether Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay called him because he gave her his number. Kanyi said he responded in the positive.
“He (Yanks) told me ‘don’t mind them (the TRRC), these people are only here for two years and they will fuck off from there,” Kanyi testified.
Kanyi said the following day when he called Touray and asked him to go first to the TRRC because he was their commander; he said Touray told him, ‘don’t mind them’.
The witness said he then called Touray for the second time and asked about the people captured during the November 11 incident. He said Touray told him that ‘those people dance to their own tune because their intention was to kill them’ (the AFPRC members).
The matter was then adjourned to 2nd and 5th of April 2019 at 2 pm and 10 am respectively for the continuation of hearing. The defendants were earlier granted bail by the Court.
Ceesay and Touray were appearing before different Magistrates which prompted the prosecution to amalgamate the cases into one because of the similarity of the charges.