Posted - 01 Mar 2019 : 14:59:42
Perpetrator explains gruesome murder of Koro & his role in the massacre of Nov. 11 soldiers
The Point: Friday, March 01, 2019
Alagie Kanyi commonly called Moofa Kanyi, an ex-soldier of The Gambia National Army has confessed that he participated in the killing of the late finance minister, Ousman Koro Ceesay and two other activities.
Alagie Kanyi who was a training instructor at the army training school before he left The Gambia National Army made this confession whilst testifying before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) chaired by Adelaide Sosseh.
The witness widely regarded as the first perpetrator who has appeared before the Commission to confess his dealings and involvement in human right violations and abuses in the erstwhile Yahya Jammeh regime. He told the Commission that he participated in the killings at Yundum Barrack, Nyambai Forest near Brikama and the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, the former Finance minister in Yahya Jammeh government.
The witness admitted that he was involved in the killing of Lt. Basirou Barrow and Sgt. Fafa Nyang at Yundum Barrack on the 11th November, 1994, he was also involved in the execution and burial of Lt. Gibril Saye, Lt. Abdoulie Bah alias Achopi, Lt. Buba Jammeh, Lt. Lamin Darboe, Lt. Bakary Manneh Nyancho and Cadet Amadou M. Sillah at Nyambai Forest near Brikama and the brutal murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, Finance minister.
Narrating his testimony, the witness who hails from Jarra Sankuya was born on the 21st July 1965 and enlisted into the Gambia National Army in 1986 as the 5th intake. He told the Commission that he was part of the guards of honour parade at the Banjul International Airport that received Ex-President D.K. Jawara on the 21st July, 1994.
The witness disclosed that prior to Sir D.K. Jawara’s arrival at the airport, the soldiers were gathered at a point where they were searched by some Nigerian soldiers as a result of the rumour that suspicion of a planned coup-d’-etat.
He said the military police officers headed by Lt. Yahya Jammeh were searched and disarmed before president Jawara’s arrival.
He further said after the parade and upon their return to Yundum Barrack some soldiers were not happy considering what happened at the airport.
He pointed out that some soldiers were agitated and felt reluctant to return their weapons as he knew that there was a planned coup which was supposed to be carried out at the airport.
The witness stated that he saw some soldiers left for their home and so he did return to his residence in Brikama.
22nd July, 1994 show down
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that he arrived at Yundum Barrack very early in the morning on the 22nd July, 1994 and he observed that the situation at the camp completely changed.
The witness further told the Commission that he proceeded to the guardroom and signed for weapon I;e AK 47 and he saw Lt. Yahya Jammeh, Lt. Edward Sighateh and Lt. Sana Sabbally and he went to collect ammunitions for his AK 47 riffle.
The witness disclosed that he heard Lt. Edward Sighateh spoke to Lt. Yahya Jammeh, saying “Sir let’s go, there is no senior man here.”
The witness said Lt. Jammeh, Lt. Sana Sabally and Lt. Edward Sighateh left for Banjul and the coup succeeded.
The witness further said he was posted to Banjulinding Police Station at about 2:00 p.m. to take charge of the said station.
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that after the situation stabilized, he was promoted to the rank of corporal until the November 11th 1994.
He recalled that on the 10th November, 1994, Lt. Sana Sabally, Lt. Edward Sighateh, Lt. Sadibou Hydara and Lt. Yankuba Touray came to the camp to address the soldiers.
He said Lt. Sana Sabally cautioned the soldiers that they were aware that some soldiers were planning to stage a coup and that anyone caught would be mercilessly dealt with.
He also said Lt. Yankuba Touray and Lt. Sadibou Hydara spoke, thereafter they left, adding that he was later assigned by RSM. Babucarr Sanyang to conduct drilling session with some gendarmerie officers.
The ungodly eleven, eleven 1994
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that he arrived at Yundum Barrack at about some minutes before 8:00 a.m., but was halted by one private soldier Colley around the back gate and was asked to double up to the guardroom.
He further told the Commission that whilst he was being escorted, he was informed that there was a coup and that Lt. Basirou Barrow was the leader.
He stated that at the guardroom, private Drammeh called him and asked to go to his house so that he can give him a military camouflage uniform to put; as it would spell trouble for him if the council members see him dress in his former uniform.
He further stated that after sometime, the council members, their orderlies and some soldiers came into the barracks accompanied by a truck.
He disclosed that after the truck parked, he climbed up the truck and behold, he saw Lt. Basirou Barrow and Lt. Abdoulie ‘Dot’ Faal lying lifeless inside the truck.
He said whilst inside the truck, he was given a pistol by lance corporal Batch Samba Jallow, Lt. Edward Sighateh’s driver to shoot the duo.
He said Lance Corporal Batch Samba Jallow said to him: “Look at your brothers, you people. You Jarankas want to be the president” and he threw a pistol to him and asked him to finish both Lt. Barrow and Lt. Dot Faal.
He disclosed that he observed that both Barrow and Dot Faal had their heads swollen with blood stain and when he pulled the pistol trigger, it couldn’t fire as the pistol was not loaded with bullet.
He further disclosed that he descended from the truck and Samba Jallow climbed and pulled the duo down the truck.
At this juncture, the witness told the Commission that he climbed the truck during daylight and debunked claims that he was holding a touch light to see them.
The witness revealed that after he descended from the truck, he was called by Lt. Sana Sabally who admonished him, saying “You the Jarankas wants to become the president,” whilst pointing at Barrow and that the next time was going to be him (Kanyi)’.
The witness said he felt like a dead man walking when Lt. Sana Sabally spoke to him, adding that he could be the next person to be killed.
He told the Commission that after that warning, he felt that Lt. Sabally was like a wounded lion, aggressive, crazy and as someone who has no regards for anybody.
He further told the Commission that thereafter Lt. Sabally called Captain Marong, the commanding officer of Yundum Barracks and asked him to stay with him.
The witness said he later went with Captain Marong to his office and whilst he stayed there for sometime, he came out and saw Sgt. Basirou Camara and Sgt. Fafa Nyang who were stripped naked with their hands tied their backs walking towards where Barrow and Dot Faal were lying.
He stated that he was instructed by both Sabally and Edward Sighateh to open fire at the two which he did.
The witness said he was among the soldiers that dug the pit that these soldiers were buried and after burying them, he returned to the Commanding Officers’ office.
“After killing the two, we took them to one side, opposite the senior NCOS’ mess and we buried them and I was among the soldiers who dug the grave with council member orderlies,” he disclosed.
He said Lance Corporal Batch Samba Jallow, Private J.C.B. Mendy, B.A. Njie and B. Njie alias Ponkal participated in the burial of Lt. Basirou Barrow, Lt. Abdoulie Dot Faal, Sgt. Fafa Nyang and Sgt. Basirou Camara.
The witness told the Commission that he was informed by Captain Marong inside his office that the captured soldiers were going to be executed.
He named the captured soldiers as: Lt. Gibril Saye, Lt. Abdoulie Bah ‘Achopi’, Lt. Buba Jammeh, Lt. Lamin Darboe, Lt. Bakary Manneh ‘Nyancho’ and Cadet Amadou Mbacke Sillah.
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that he accompanied the entourage to the execution ground and participated in the shooting.
He noted that the officers were covered with tarpaulin, their hands were tied and put inside the Land Rover car and then taken to the execution ground around Nyambai forest near Brikama.
Narrating how these soldiers were executed the witness disclosed that they were put in an extended line giving their backs to Lt. Sana Sabally and co.
He said before Lt. Sabally and co started firing at them, they were asked to say their last prayers but it was only one Buba Jammeh who said that they should not kill them but to lock them and take them to jail.
He recalled that Lt. Sana Sabally, Lt. Edward Sighateh, Lt. Sadibou Hydara, Lt. Yankuba Touray, Col Bubacarr Jatta, the Army commander at the time, Lamin Fatty, Private B.A. Njie, Private J.C.B. Mendy, B. Njie Ponkal and Lance Corporal Marong took part in the firing where the captured soldiers were killed.
He said one E.M. Ceesay was killed by one Lance Corporal Mboob before they returned from the execution ground.
“After the execution of the officers they were taken back to Yundum Barrack and buried, thereafter the council members and their orderlies left,” he stated.
The witness denied claim that Momodou Badjie participated in the execution of the officers at Nyambai forest.
“I didn’t see Momodou Badjie at Yundum Barracks and at the forest,” he declared.
Alagie Kanyi admitted that he participated in the burial of the officers but denied claims that he chopped off Lt. Gibril Saye’s legs before being buried because his legs couldn’t fit into the grave.
He said after November 11th 1994 massacre, he was moved to Bravo Company and later to the training school at Fajara Barrack and then back to Yundum Barrack.
Murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay
Alagie Kanyi who goes with the sobriquet Moofa Kanyi told the Commission that he participated in an operation organised by Lt. Edward Sighateh.
He disclosed that it was on a particular day whilst he was in his residence in Brikama when he was picked up by one Staff Sergeant B.K. Jatta. He said they later picked Sgt. Pa Alieu Gomez and Tumbul Tamba and proceeded to Lt. Edward Sighateh’s residence at Cape-Point.
He explained that whilst there, Lt E. Sighateh briefed them in the presence of his brother, Lt. Peter Sighateh and he said: “We are going to get rid of one ****ing ****.”
The witness told the Commission that they used three vehicles, the four in one vehicle, Peter Singhateh in another vehicle and Edward Singhateh in a separate vehicle and drove to Lt. Yankuba Touray’s residence around Sengambia area.
He further told the Commission that upon arrival at Yankuba’s residence, Edward asked them to wait and said: ‘Kanyi, we are coming with one minister, you will be at the gate, when we come you will salute us and receive the minister.”
He said Edward Sighateh, Peter Sighateh and Yankuba Touray left for the airport but returned after few hours.
He stated when they returned it was Peter Sighateh who first came, rushed into the house, hid in the corridor.
“Edward Sighateh came and introduced the minister as Ousman Koro Ceesay to them,” he stated.
The witness disclosed that it was Peter Sighateh that first struck Ousman K. Ceesay from behind, followed by Edward Sighateh who used pestle and hit him three times and later Edward called and gave Yankuba Touray, each of them firewood to hit Ousman K. Ceesay.
He said the place was full of blood and they carried Ousman K. Ceesay into his official car and came back to clean the blood.
“Four of us carried him to his official car and came back and cleaned the blood stain, Peter Sighateh, Yankuba Touray and Edward Sighateh went away with the body,” he remarked.
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that after some days, he noticed that Peter Sighateh has burnt hands whilst at the training school.
He said after some days they were called by Edward Sighateh and in that meeting Peter Sighateh was present, Edward Sighateh congratulated for killing Ousman Koro Ceesay.
“Edward said end of exercise, job well done and that is what is expected of a soldier,” he told the Commission.
“After the briefing Edward asked us not to ever disclose what happened and since then, I have never disclosed the issue with anybody,” he added.
Author: Bruce Asemota
A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
Posted - 18 Apr 2019 : 12:04:10
| TRRC: Mum Lost Consciousness After Her Only Son Died Mysteriously
Foroyaa: April 17, 2019
By Momodou Jarju
Ya Bajen Ceesay Jaiteh, the younger sister of late Ousman Koro Ceesay, said their mother, Fatoumatta Sanyang, lost consciousness when she heard the death of her only son. Koro Ceesay was the then finance minister at the time.
In her testimony yesterday via skype before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), Bajen said her heart almost stopped when she heard the sad news, saying she was emotionally numbed and at the same time worried about their mum’s situation.
She said the information she received from Yundum Police Station was that Koro was burned beyond recognition, saying at first they weren’t sure it was her brother said to be dead involved in a car accident.
Bajen, former nurse of the RVTH, said the atmosphere was sheer pandemonium and and they did not receive any phone call or information about the death of Koro from the government up to date.
She said Lt. Edward Singhatey, Lt. Peter Singhatey and Lt. Yankuba Touray were the three individuals identified by people to be the murderers of Koro. She said according to rumors circulating in town, Koro was killed at Yankuba Touray’s house and later taken to Jambur where he was burnt to death by the aforementioned lieutenants.
Bajen said she didn’t see any of the three lieutenants at the time but she heard people saying they saw Lt. Peter Singhatey administer bandage on his hand.
At The Mortuary
Bajen said at the mortuary she did see neither the head nor a limb of Koro Ceesay. She added that their mum, Fatoumatta Sanyang and dad, Sainey Ceesay, were advised not to see the remains of their son at the time.
Bajen said she looked into an empty bag of rice where it was said the skull of Koro was in but she said what she saw did not resemble a human skull. She said on Sunday 25 June 1995 there was a bit of restriction and she had to force herself in.
Testifying further, Bajen said some people who identified themselves as a delegation from the government headed by Lt. Edward Singhatey and Lt. Yankuba Touray, came to their home to give their condolences.
But she said their mum refused to acknowledge the delegation’s offer describing their visit as disrespectful. She said Lt. Edward Singhatey knelt before her mum, extended his hand to her mum’s hand and said accept my sympathy.
“My mum said you have some nerves to come here and extend your condolences after you killed my son. He did not respond he just stayed quite. But as he knelt down his other hand he just set an envelope which I believe there is some money in it. I didn’t see it but he set down an envelope on the mat next to my mum. So my mum just grabbed the envelope and threw it towards his entourage where one of the guys picked up,” she said.
She said when her mum did that, she looked into Lt. Singhatey’s eyes and told him just like Julius Caesar spirit came back to the people that killed him, Koro’s spirit would hunt each and every one of them. She said suddently, Lt. Singhatey quickly withdrew his hand from her mum and stood up for a second then walked away later.
Thereafter, she said the entourage turned to leave and people were shouting at them saying “bye-bye, go away killers,” in the Mandinka local language.
The following day, Monday 26 June 1995, Bajen said it was the burial day which she attended and her mum, who did not go and dad, gave her cloth for her to wrap the remains of Koro which she did, adding that she prayed for her brother even though she was still skeptical about the narratives of his death.
According to her, the burial was full of people and after the burial, she left for home.
Week after the funeral, Bajen said Lt. Yahya Jammeh with Lamin Kaba Bajo and others, came to their home to offer his condolence to the family, saying Lt. Jammeh said he would not let no stone unturned about Koro’s death.
She explained that Lt. Jammeh showed lit bit of empathy and even pretended to care by crying while expressing his regret saying Koro was like a brother to him. Bajen said she was skeptical about Lt. Jammeh’s assertions.
After that, she said they did not receive any information about ongoing investigation, however, she said they made effort to meet Lt. Jammeh at State House which was made possible on 1 August 1995. She it was herself and aunty Isatou, who met Lt. Jammeh escorted by Lamin Kaba Bajo. When they got in, Bajen said she asked Lt. Jammeh why they killed her brother but Lt. Jammeh said they did not kill Koro.
“He looked at me and said we do not do that. We suspect the Jawara regime. And I looked at him and said why would the Jawara regime do that? What connection has Koro to do with them and why would they want Koro death. He did not respond to that question,” she explained.
She said Lt. Jammeh said he heard that she was the stubborn nurse.
Bajen said before they left without any information of Koro’s death, she told Lt. Jammeh to call their parents and update them about the so-called ongoing investigation which he adhered to. She said Jammeh called twice to talk to her mum but she yelled at Lt. Jammeh on both occasion and told him not to call again, which Lt. Jammeh also adhered to.
She also recalled going to the scene of the purported accident and found a bond that resembles a broken ribcage which she took home and saw it to their mum who shed lot of tears. Upon receiving the bond however, she said her mum said: “At least I have something of my boy.”
Bajen further testified that their parent weren’t happy with the money Lt. Jammeh gave as a contribution for the 40 days charity of Koro’s death. She recalled that her mum in particular insisted that the money would not be used in the family, so family relatives suggested that the money be given to neighboring mosques as charity which was done.
Before Koro’s Death
Bajen recalled telling Koro to be careful and he told her not to be worry, adding that Koro was a tight-lipped person who hardly discusses about his work with people.
Bajen recalled Koro telling their mum that Lt. Edward Singhatey threatened to kill him at the time and their mum asked Koro to quit the job but he insisted, and assured them that nothing was going to happen. She said this was towards the end of May 1995.
Bajen said she received a note from a prison guard called Abdoulie Bojang written by Captain Kambi, her then husband who was imprisoned at the time. She said the note warned her brother Koro to be careful of Lt. Edward Singhatey, describing him as a ruthless and dangerous man.
But Bajen said after she read the information, koro took the note from her, shredded it and threw it in the kitchen while she was cooking. She at that time Koro was working on the budget speech he was supposed to deliver at the parliament, adding that Koro spent hours just to make sure the speech was done. Bajen said Koro told her that when he was done with the budget speech, they would be proud of her.
She added that their father was worried about the rumor in town that Koro was about to uncover some financial discrepancies the Junta committed, monies owned by the Gambian populate.
Bajen said on 22 June 1995, Koro reached at home in the evening and met her alone, they had a chit-chat for about half hour and he left leaving her a message to relate his mum that he would return the following day. She said this was the last time she saw her brother, Koro.
23 June 1995
Bajen said Koro called home and spoke with their mum via cell phone telling her that he was seeing off the then Chairman of AFPRC Yahya Jammeh at the airport, who was heading to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She said Koro told their mum to prepare “naan mburu” and buy mango for him- his favorite food, so that when he get home, he would eat that.
But unfortunately, she said Koro never returned until 1am at night when their mum asked them to go to bed. Bajen said the following day around 1pm while they were having lunch, they received the news of Koro’s purported car accident.
“I heard my aunt in the background saying to my mum, I received a phone call saying Koro was death in an accident. My mum upon receiving the word ‘accident’, I just told my mum can I have the handset please. (She took a deep breath). She gave me the handset. I said ‘okay let me hang up the phone I would call the hospital’ because at the time I worked at the RVTH. So I dialled the RVTH straight to the accident and the emergency unit. I asked them if there were any accident reported, I was told there was no accident reported,” she explained.
She said because no accident was reported at the hospital, she decided to call Brikama police station because the accident was said to be around that end, and she was responded in the negative. Then, she called Yundum police station and asked about the matter and the guy responded in the positive.
“I asked him ‘was it a black Mercedes Benz’, he said yes. I asked again ‘was it GG 1322’, he said ‘yes’. And then my next question was; ‘where is the victim?’ The gentleman just told me over the phone, not knowing who he was speaking to, he said ‘the victim was burned’… ‘he is dead,” she said.
Bajen said Koro and colleagues formed the Quantum Associates in 1994 before he was approached by the Junta to serve the AFPRC in March 1995.
Aftermath of Koro’s Death
Bajen said her brother’s death impacted seriously on the entire family. She said their dad was a strong man, but at times he would sit early in the morning, stared at Koro’s picture and cry. She added that Koro was their mother’s confidant and their mum was so devastated to have lost her closest friend and only son.
She said the entire family yearned and longed for justice to be served to the perpetrators of Koro’s death but to no avail until their dad and mum passed away. However, she thanked the truth commission for their work and hoped for the best.
Currently, she is residing in United States of America where the family relocated years ago.
A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone