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Ex-army chief Jatta denies involvement in Nov. 11 killings


Former chief of defense staff, Babucarr Jatta, has denied involvement in any execution of soldiers on November 11, 1994. Jatta was among the first intakes of the Gambia National Arm. 

Babucarr Jatta

On November 11, close to two dozen soldiers accused of planning a counter coup against the former military leader Yahya Jammeh were captured and executed.

The orders were said to have come from Jammeh but execution was reportedly led by Sanna Sabally. Many witnesses before the Truth Commission said all the Council Members except Jammeh had participated in the killing.

Also involved in the execution according to witnesses is Babucarr Jatta. However, Jatta told the Commission on Thursday that he was not involved in the killings.

Jatta led the attack on Fajara Barracks, according to him but he was not on the extended line when Sanna executed Abdoulie Faal and Basiru Barrow.

Witnesses said Jatta, like all others who were involved in the attack on Fajara, have stood on an extended line and shot at the soldiers on the orders of Sanna.

Jatta said he was there but was not on the extended line as said by witnesses. He in fact said he attempted to reason with Sanna not to execute the soldiers.

However, Jatta admitted that they carry the responsibility for the execution since they are the senior soldiers on the ground.

On November 11, the soldiers were executed at Fajara, Yundum and Nyambai Forest but Jatta denied his participation in all these places.

When he arrived back at Yundum, EM Ceesay and Sgt Fafa Nyang were already executed. And though he went with the soldiers to execute their colleagues in the forest, he said he did it to convince Sanna not to go ahead with the execution.

Several witnesses said Jatta was not just in the forest, he participated in the killing.

Meanwhile, the remains of seven of soldiers executed on November 11 were exhumed on Monday. Their remains await identification by the investigators of the Commission and the police.

It took the investigators more than a week to locate the unmarked grave of the victims buried in Yundum Barracks. Jatta said the Council Members buried them in the barracks so that their graves would not be found by others.

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