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2016 impasse: Soldier asked to explode GNPC stations confessed

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Bubacarr Bah is the 15th witness before the Truth Commission and the first to have confessed of torture. He tortured veteran Gambian politician Omar Jallow alias OJ.

 

A Gambian soldier specialized in explosives and ammunitions was asked to rig patrol stations of Gambia National Petroleum Company during the political impasse and explode them.

According to Captain Bubacarr Bah, who claimed he was given this instruction by General Saul Badgie, the burning of the GNPC stations would be blamed on the coalition government.

Former dictator Yahya Jammeh lost power in 2016 in what was widely considered to be a credible elections but refused to cede, citing irregularities.

The explosion of the GNPC petrol stations which would be blamed on the Coalition would have justified clampdown on its leadership and perhaps made the international community to question their motives, so thought Saul.

At the time soldiers believed to be loyal to Jammeh have placed sandbag positions all over the Kanifing Municipality in a combat ready mood.

Bah said he was approached by General Badgie, the most influential man in the army at the time, who asked him to rig GNPC stations and blow them.

“He told me these people (the coalition) are bent on revenge and vengeance…,” said Bah.

He said he met the former feared General Saul near the Bakoteh dumpsite where he was given D10, 000 following the brief encounter.

Bah said Saul whose real name is Karafa Bojang, a native of Bwiam, has first also asked for the petroleum house to be bomb but later changed that instruction.

He said Saul told him that he will be promoted to any rank of his choosing after that task.

“We have explosives in Yundum barracks. There were explosives in Banjul and Kanilai… But explosives were not readily with me. But if I have called the man, (Saul) with his influence, and asked for C4s or TNTs, he could have made it available,” said Bah who said he had no intention to carry out such orders.

Saul was the commander of the State Guards at the time who had more influence than even the head of the army.

Bah also explained how he was arrested during the impasse and jailed at a secret detention centre near Jeshwang Prison. He also explained how their barracks were attacked on November 11 by members of the Council who later killed close to 2 dozen soldiers summarily.

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