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General Martin admits to beating Sanna “mercilessly”


The Thursday session of Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission has welcome General Alagie Martin, a warrant officer class 2 in 1994 who was implicated in several gruesome tortures on orders of the former president Yahya Jammeh.

General Alagie Martin

General Alagie Martin has confirmed to beating Sanna Sabally, the vice chairman of the military leadership that overthrew the former president Dawda Kairaba Jawara.

Sanna, himself a ruthless ex-military implicated in several tortures and deaths, was arrested by General Martin and his colleagues on the orders of Yahya Jammeh in January 1995.

Jammeh accused him of an attempted coup. Also arrested with Sanna was Sadibu Hydara, Lt Colonel Babucarr Sanyang, among others.

Thereafter, Sanna was reportedly tortured severely by a team lead by General Martin to extract confession from him.

Martin, who refused to describe his actions as constituting torture, confirmed on Thursday that they beat Sanna mercilessly.

“That was the standard procedure then. When you arrest people and they are not talking, you beat them,” he said.

“That is not torture”. While Babucarr Sanyang and Sanna were able to withstand the torture, Sadibu died as a result.

But Martin claimed he was not involved in Sadibu’s torture. He said he led the team to Mile 2 but the torture of Sadibu was led by late Musa Jammeh. He nevertheless admitted supervising the torture that eventually led to the death of Sadibu.

“I do not think that beating led to his death,” argued Martin.

Meanwhile, Martin’s confession fell far short in helping viewing understand the gruesome picture Sanna painted of his treatment in state custody. He denied using hammer and electricity on Sanna. “We were there with our guns. We used our AK47s, not hammer,” said Martin.

Martin said they used plastic bags on Sadibu and Babucarr Sanyang. These tortures took 2 days, according to Martin but according to Sanna and others, the tortures took several hours for several days.

“I was only at Mile 2 on two occasions,” said Martin.

However, Martin did confirmed that torture was their standard operating procedure at the time and it was routine in any investigation.

“I was given orders to go and question,” said Martin.

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