The fifth witness before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission Aboubacarr Jeng was a senior police officer at the time of the 1994 coup.
A former secretary to the Military Junta that overthrew Gambia’s first leader Dawda Kairaba Jawara has confirmed on Tuesday that Halifa Sallah has refused their offer of a ministerial position.
Sallah, the leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism, was offered the position with Samuel Sarr, the managing editor of Foroyaa newspaper.
Sarr, a trained physician, was a former physicist teacher of the former autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh during his days at Gambia Senior Secondary School. Jeng said other people who were offered accepted the positions.
“The feedback from Samuel Sarr and Halifa Sallah was explicit. They categorically said they cannot accept the job,” said Jeng.
Jeng further explained that Sallah and Sarr, however, said they were willing to help in the development of the country in any way they can.
As the secretary of the Junta, Jeng was exposed to several meetings they have had including those with the diplomatic community.
He said there were several attempts by diplomats to convince the military to return to the barrack but to no avail.
He further revealed that Second Lieutenant Edward Singhateh, a prominent member of the coup, was being relied upon in terms of speech because of his eloquence.
“Jammeh was habitual in remiding senior officers that monkey will not work and baboon chop. He was saying that they the junior officers will not come this far only for them (senior officers) to take things from them…,” said Jeng.
On what described (Yahya) Jammeh and his five-member team, Jeng said “Jammeh is cocky and arrogant… Edward (Singhateh) was very composed and it is your guest as to what is in his mind Sanna (Sabally) was very impatient and very economical in terms of his interaction. (Sadibou) Hydara was a docile person… Yankuba Touray, flows with the tie. He does not have a belief or conviction.”
Meanwhile, Jeng is currently a deputy security adviser for the United Nations Department of Safety and Security. He was a senior police officer in Gambia who retired in 2012 and has a wealth of experience in security and safety matters.
He worked very closely with the AFPRC junta serving as their very first secretary before he was detained in Mile 2 for 18 months.
Jeng has also recounted his experience under the Gambia police, saying they were underequipped and under-resourced.