Lead Counsel Essa Faal’s line of questioning against John Charles Mendy suggest he believes the former soldier is being economical with the truth.
The 30th witness before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commissions has admitted to participating to killing of Basiru Barrow, Abdoulie Faal and others at Fajara Barracks on November 11, 1994 but denied participating in subsequent executions.
John Charles Mendy is a former orderly to ex Junta member Sanna Sabally who, on Monday, admitted to participating in torturing one Dola Bah who allegedly insulted former President Yahya Jammeh when he was chairman of the Armed Provisional Ruling Council.
The torture Mendy referred to as a “military punishment” was reportedly done on orders of Sabally. But Mendy said though Sanna’s convoy maltreated 8 other people in similar incidents, he was neither aware of it nor did he participate in them.
He said on Tuesday that he fired during the execution of soldiers at Fajara but denied participating in the killings of others inside Nyambai Forest. Mendy however admitted he was there but said he made himself busy over other things to avoid killing people.
“The first time I joined but the second time, I refused. Because the order is wrong…,” said Mendy.
He said after the executions, the remains of soldiers were brought back to the Yundum Barracks where they were buried. Mendy said he did not participate in the burial either.
According to Mendy, the soldiers killed at Nyambai were Nyancho Manneh, Cadet Sillah, Abdoulie Bah and Captain Saye.
He said before they were killed, Sanna told them to say their last prayers. He also spoke of seeing Alagie Kanyi bayonetting the soldiers while they were on a land rover being taken to be killed.
According to Mendy’s testimony, not only did former President Yahya Jammeh ordered the killings, he also want to go with the soldiers.
“Yahya Jammeh followed them and said “Sabally, I want to go with you”. Sanna said “please you cannot go”. “Don’t you trust me?” And Yahya Jammeh said “Belie wolie talie, if I go with you, lot of families will weep today”…,” said Mendy.
He said from there on, he knew their mission was to kill or be killed. The statement by Jammeh came before they attack the Yundum Barracks which was the first place they moved on, according to previous testimonies.
One thing that distinct Mendy’s narration with previous testimonies is that he said Dot Faal and Basiru were killed at Fajara while others said they were killed at Yundum.
However, what is becoming clearer is that various witnesses before the Commission have various access points at a given moment, thus the variance in their accounts.