The 45th witness before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission said his life was saved by Sanna Saballly. The only person who said kind words of Sanna was John Charles Mendy. He said Sabally is “sincere” and “honest”.
Since the start of the Truth Commission investigating the former dictator Yahya Jammeh, one name that consistently came up in all early killings is Sanna Sabally.
He was the man said to have called the shot on November 11, 1994, a day unspecified number of soldiers were killed at Yundum Barracks and various locations.
Unknown though is that Sanna also saved someone’s life. Corporal Alagie Kebbeh, a former soldier in the Gambia National Army, was accused of involvement in November 11 counter coup that was planned.
Though he denied any knowledge of the coup, he was nevertheless arrested and brought before Sanna Sabally and Edward Singhateh. Sanna and Edward were one of the military leaders who played a major role in repealing the planned counter coup that never started.
“Sanna told me… you should not be part of this,” said Kebbeh. This is because Kebbeh and Sanna shared a personal relationship.
As he was trying to explain himself, a shot from Edward Singhatey came putting a bullet in his left thigh driving its way into his right thigh, shattering him.
“I fell on the floor and there was a pool of blood,” said Kebbeh. Then Edward rushed to him and put a gun to his shoulder to “finish him” but Sanna shouted “stop”.
A man many described as a beast, Sanna, has emotions after all. But this was the beginning of Kebbeh’s anguish. He may have been saved from death but certainly not from pain.
“I was not given any pain killer,” he said. After Sanna shouted for medics, they came in and took him away. He was taken to a place where they tried to stop the bleeding but the bullet was not taken out.
He would live with the bullet until this day. Kebbeh, after all he went through, told the Commission he was never involved in November 11 incident.
However, he was later taken to Mile 2 where he spent 4 years without trial. He was never even granted a lawyer. He was released in 1998 to his 9 children and three wives.
He was also forced to voluntarily retire from the army.
“The benefits paid to me were very little despite the fact that after I was released, it was recommended for all my benefits to be paid. I was paid only D7000 out of which my bank only gave me D3000 after all deductions,” said Kebbeh.
Kebbeh said the then Commander of the Army, Samsudeen Sarr told him that the Army did not have money to pay his entitlements.