Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 14:32:21
Amadou Sanneh narrates dreadful experience under APRC regime
The Point: Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Amadou Sanneh, national treasurer of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and former minister of Finance and Economic Affairs yesterday testified before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), chaired by Dr. Lamin J. Sise at Dunes Hotel in Kotu.
Amadou Sanneh, a certified accountant was born in Basang on 28 August 1958, attended Basang Primary School, then Nustrat Senior Secondary School and then Gambia High School.
He pursued a professional training in accounting and served in several government departments like the GPTC, National Investment Board (NIB) amongst others. He became Accountant General in 1994, worked with the AFPRC government, resigned in 1996 and went into private practice.
The UDP national treasurer disclosed that during his stint as Accountant General, he had encounter with some of the junta members namely Sana Sabally and Yahya Jammeh amongst others.
The witness revealed that during his stint as the Accountant General he observed that they displayed a lot of arrogance, lack of respect for protocols, citing his encounter with Sana Sabally.
The witness also cited the eventful shooting of a particular taxi-vehicle tyre at Westfield by Sana Sabally’s entourage.
He described Yahya Jammeh as very forceful in his speech and said Yahya Jammeh had always displayed aggression towards members of the PPP government.
Mr. Sanneh said Yahya Jammeh was always saying that they had to tell them where they kept the country’s money.
Mr. Sanneh said when the junta took over, they found significant reserves at the Central Bank of The Gambia.
He stated that it was a threat working with them and he subsequently resigned after he was deployed to the Ministry of Trade as deputy permanent secretary in 1996.
The witness told the Commission that he joined the United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1996 as an individual soon after its formation and was appointed as national treasurer.
He disclosed that the political climate was filled with fear, uncertainty and hostility, noting that UDP had to bear the brunt and brutality of the AFPRC/APRC because the UDP stood out as a strong force.
He revealed that sometimes the UDP were denied permit to hold meetings, the PIU and the July 22nd movement militants terrorise their supporters and disrupt their meetings.
He said the relationship between UDP and the security forces was very sour, noting that they were used as agents of brutality against UDP supporters.
He said government resources, chiefs, village heads (alkalolu) and governors were involved in partisan politics, adding that the APRC destroyed the entire fabric of the nation’s administration.
Mr. Sanneh recalled that on the 22nd September, 1996, he joined the UDP entourage at Tallinding and they headed for Banjul.
He explained that whilst they were going to Banjul, he observed that some security agents were driving on the other side of the road overtaking them around Old Jeshwang at about 10:00 p.m.
He stated that upon the arrival of UDP entourage at Denton Bridge, they were stopped and asked to come down and UDP supporters were asked to remove their party T-shirts and they were ordered to lie face down and a shot was being fired in the air.
He further stated that they were beaten with pipes and batons and the soldiers were stamping on their backs with their shoes (boots).
Mr. Sanneh said one of the tyres of the truck carrying UDP supporters was shot and they were brutalized and beaten under the supervision of Yankuba Touray, Edward Singhateh and the late Almamo Manneh.
He further said he was among those who were sandwiched inside a truck and taken to Marina Parade, opposite the Atlantic Hotel and asked to lie on the floor and thereafter; they had another round of beating spree by the security agents.
He asserted that after they were beaten at Atlantic Hotel, they were asked to get up and run but whilst they were running they were beaten.
He noted that whilst they were running, one Sedia Sanyang refused to run and he was beaten mercilessly. He disclosed that the said Sedia Sanyang died as a result of the beatings.
Hon. Sanneh told the Commission that he was arrested on 24 September, 1996 after two NIA operatives accosted him and asked him to go and collect his vehicle at the NIA.
He said upon arrival at the premises, he was asked to empty his belongings in his pocket and then taken into custody.
He revealed he was detained for 18 days and could not vote in the October 1996 presidential elections.
He pointed out that his brother Njundu Sanneh who came to look for him was also arrested and detained on the orders of Foday Barry for 24 hours.
Hon. Amadou Sanneh indicated that he was released after 18 days after he was threatened not to tell anyone of his ordeal.
The witness told the Commission that the UDP convoy was attacked on their way to Kulari at Chamoi in 2001 by the APRC supporters who appeared from the bush.
He explained that APRC supporters threw stones, missiles and rock pebbles on them untile the vehicles he was in with the UDP secretary General, Ousainou Darboe was damaged.
He said some UDP supporters pursued them into the bush and they had fight, noting that weapons were recovered from them including machetes, razor blades amongst others.
He stated that one of the government vehicles was burnt and one Alieu Njie was seriously injured and taken to Basse Hospital where he was pronounced dead and three of the attackers were arrested and taken to Basse Police Station.
Mr. Sanneh revealed that Baba Jobe came to Basse Police Station with three Pick-up vehicles with APRC supporters and was given instructions to the police there.
The witness said they were detained for a week and thereafter arraigned before Magistrate Borry S. Touray of Basse Magistrate’s Court who indicated that his court doesn’t have jurisdiction to entertain murder trial and the matter was transferred to the High Court in Banjul.
He further said some police officers like Jaye Sowe came from Police Headquarters and they transported to Banjul in an open truck.
Mr. Sanneh told the Commission that in 2013, two NIA operatives came to his office and he was informed that he was needed at the NIA office in Banjul.
Upon arrival, the witness disclosed that he was interrogated about a letter of attestation he wrote for one Malang Fatty, a UDP supporter.
He said at the NIA he met one Sukuta Jammeh who informed him that the letter was tarnishing the image of the government.
He said he was also called by the then director general of NIA, Yankuba Badjie, who prevailed on him to apologise to Yahya Jammeh and would be released but he refused to oblige his request.
He said some days later he was taken upstairs and was beaten by some NIA agents together with some junglers who were masked and was filmed whilst he was unconscious.
At this juncture, a video was played showing him after he was beaten at the NIA, which he said he was unconscious at the time and noted that some UDP supporters like Solo Sandeng, Lang Marong, Modou Ngum, Noghoi Njie went through similar ordeal.
The witness asserted that he was charged along with Malang Fatty and Sambou Fatty with multiple offences including sedition.
He said that one Baldeh was used as a state witness in their trial presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea at the High Court in Banjul who eventually convicted and sentenced him in December 2013 and was released in December 2016 by President Adama Barrow.
Author: Bruce Asemota
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