Alagie Kanteh, a spokesperson for the Junta for about 10 days after the coup, has given an insight into the attitude of the people who took over government on July 22, 1994.
The leadership of the military men who overthrew Gambia’s former president Dawda Kairaba Jawara have presented themselves as saviours of a country held hostage by corrupt officials.
But information before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission has indicated that the soldiers were troubled men with anti-social behaviours.
A former second lieutenant in the Gambia army who was also part of the coup, Alagie Kanteh, told the Commission investigating the human rights violations of Yahya Jammeh that the former ruler finds it difficult to obey orders and he is “enigmatic”.
“He always want people to say good things about him. What stood out was that he was not discipline and he did not also have a military orientation,” said Kanteh.
For Edward Singhateh, Kanteh describes him as a “sadist” who “enjoys inflicting pain on people”.
The testimonies of the three other senior officers at the time of the coup, Amadou Suwareh, Ebrima Chongan and Sheriff Gomez, have all not been kind to Singhateh.
Gomez said he deliberately missed him with a bullet from a nine millimeter pistol when they were taking the keys to the armory from him on July 22 morning.
Meanwhile, Kanteh said Sanna Sabally who is also one of the leaders of the coup, is “immature” but Yankuba Touray is a “clown”.
But Kanteh said he did not know enough about Sadibou Hydara to describe him. Hydara, like Jammeh, was a gendarmerie who was later brought to the Gambia National Army after that unit was disbanded.
The military officials came to power on the claims of a 2-year transition but they ended up staying. Jammeh, who led the coup, ruled the country for 22 years until his election defeat on December 1, 2016.
Jammeh now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea. Kanteh was the fourth witness who appeared before the Commission investigating the former ruler. Kanteh was among the senior officers who were part of the coup but later arrested by the Junta and jailed at Mile 2 without any court appearance. He explained how people in Mile 2 were tortured and subjected to mock execution in September 1994.