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‘Jammeh was terrified by Sanna Sabally’


A onetime influential member of the military leadership that deposed country’s first leader Dawda Kairaba Jawara said former president Yahya Jammeh was scared of Sanna Sabally.

Sabally was described by some of his colleagues as erratic and temperamental. He was the primary planner of the July 22, 1994 military coup that brought Jammeh to power.

Following their coup, the leadership formed a Military Council in which Sanna served as a vice chair. The Council was led by Yahya Jammeh.

Barely a year into their leadership, Jammeh felt uncomfortable with Sabally. Edward Singhatey, one of the five leaders of the coup said the former ruler was petrified by Sanna. Edward was at the time the defense minister.

“Prior to the arrest of Sanna Sabally, Jammeh informed me that he believes Sanna was going to take over…,” said Edward before the Truth Commission on Thursday.

“Jammeh told me that Sanna Sabally sees me as your ally and if he comes for me, he would come for you too…”

Sanna was eventually arrested with Sadibu Hydara who would later die in jail, reportedly of torture.

“What I could see was that he (Jammeh) was petrified. He was threatened by Sanna. The fear was misconceived…,” said Edward.

Edward said the former leader also gave out charity in order to subdue Sanna and Sadibu. “Jammeh gave out charity to subdue Sanna Sabally and Sadibu Hydara… He told me that his marabout told him that he should bury a ram alive,” said Edward. He said Jammeh eventually buried a ram alive.

“They dig a ground and bury the poor ram. Jammeh believed that that had a direct connection to his security and livelihood,” said Edward.

Edward continues the testimony on the arrest and treatment of Sanna in jail on Monday.

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