1994: TRRC witness reveals soldiers’ plan had the coup failed
The 34th witness of Gambia’s Truth Commission said the plans of the soldiers was to execute officers and loot the Central Bank and fled the country had the 1994 coup failed.
On July 22, 1994, Gambia has witnessed its first successful coup led by a self-style revolutionary Yahya Jammeh and four lower rank soldiers. The coup was planned on July 21st when the country’s first ruler Dawda Kairaba Jawara was coming home from England.
According to the Truth Commission’s witness number 34, former private soldier Momodou Lamin Bah, the plan was to arrest Jawara. Then Sanna Sabally was to move in with forces to blow the tower at the Banjul International Airport and control the place.
Other VIPs would have been arrested.
Bah served as an orderly to Lieutenant Colonel Odu, a Nigerian soldier in Gambia on technical assistance to professionalize Gambia’s army. He would later serve as the orderly to Colonel Babucarr Jatta.
Bah’s proximity to the Nigerian soldier has made him a person of interest to Edward Singhateh. He not just told him their plans for a coup, Edward also told his what they intended to do if the coup failed.
“Edward told me that you are close the Big Man. We would need you to provide vital information,” Bah said.
“When we succeed, we are going to compensate each soldier. And he told me that was plan A. when the coup failed, we are going to execute all the officers, loot the Central Bank and flee.”
According to Bah, this was said in a meeting at Edward’s office at Yundum Barracks. Bah did admitted that he supported the coup. He suggested that the political leadership at the time had no respect for the army.
He quoted Saikou Sabally, the then vice president, as saying that Gambia did not need an army. He also said his boss, Colonel Odu knew about the coup and he appeared to have played a part in it.
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