EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Former vice chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) coup junta in July, 1994 said Gambia’s exiled former President, Yaya Jammeh had once informed him that he feared Sanna Sabally may lunch a coup to depose him.
“Prior to Sanna Sabally’s arrest and detention at Mile 2, Jammeh informed me that he believe Sanna wanted to launch a coup against him, by either tying, shooting are sending him to Mile 2. Well, he kept telling me Sanna was going to take over,” he said.
On his day two appearance before the Truth, Reconciliation and reparations Commission (TRRC) on Thursday, Singhateh claimed that Jammeh was also pointing at the behaviour of Sanna, saying relationship of the Council members have been deteriorating.
He suggest that the selection of Council members might have been the starting point of animosity between Jammeh and Sanna and between Sanna and himself. “My relationship with Sanna deteriorated because there were two events that occurred that actually brought a rift between me and Sanna.”
He said the first incident occurred shortly after 1994 takeover, when he visited one Aunty Jojo who told him that Sanna had seized her car. “When I approached Sanna, he told that the car belongs to the government and we argued. Ordinarily, I should have not, because he is my senior. But he responded badly,” he added.
He said the second incident involved his family. “I was given a temporal car one to use until my official one is returned. I travelled with Sadibou and in my absence, I understand that he called the house and got my brother, Peter who told him that I had given the car keys to my mother to avoid anyone misusing it. Sanna Sabally got mad and asked for the keys to be released immediately.”
He said Sanna called again, but Peter told him that his mother didn’t release the keys and was the time he threatened to send a truck of soldiers to arrest his mother. “They called me, and I told my mother to release the keys and the vehicle, which was done. But I called Jammeh and I complained and said look, this is what is happening, are we not supposed to be a family? How can a colleague be threatening my mother of all people? I am not accepting this.”
He said that was the time he decided to cut his journey short and returned home. “I confronted Sanna and I addressed him very bitterly because I was hurt. He apologised though but the damage had already been done.”
When the Commission’s Lead Counsel Essa Faal argued that Sanna’s actions might not be of threat to his [Edward Singhateh’s] family since the keys were released but Singhateh said if the vice Chairman of state threatens his family that he is going to come and arrest a key with a truck of soldiers that, of course is a security threat.
Lead Counsel Faal insisted that the threat was already neutralised because the keys where handed over. “We all knew of Sanna’s erratic behaviour. I needed assurances that my family was safe and coming back and getting them was the only thing I could do… As far as I was concerned, the mare fact that it [the threat] was made, was an indication that we were not safe,” he stated.
On this point, Singhateh rejected the proposition that had he got opportunity, he would stab him [Sanna] with a dagger.