I watched with keen interest the statements of Mr Alagie Kanteh at the TRRC on Monday 14 January 2019 and that of Mr Aboubacarr Jeng the next day and how I think the counsel missed critical opportunities to come up with validating questions about me and in particular about my trauma-induced “madness” at Mile Two Prisons after the infamous night of September 6, 1994.

In fact, I almost at first thought that the counsel’s patient insistence to compel Mr Kanteh, to publicly say that “Samsudeen Sarr” was mad was hinged on the former’s personal curiosity to perhaps confirm the widely discussed, widely rumored and widely accepted baloney that I was truly insane until I realized iin the end that Mr Kanteh had indeed prepared a supporting written statement before taking the witness seat. It was evident that Mr Kanteh tried to avoid publicly calling it madness by throwing vague descriptions of the symptoms from being “depression” to “withdrawal” and to “refusing to eat and talk”. But the counsel couldn’t accept any of that and kept on prompting him to say “madness” the way I believe he wrote it in his statement. At last the counsel had no choice but to ask him to say the exact word: “So does that mean he (Samsudeen Sarr) was “mad”?” asked the counsel. And he replied “Yes”.

I cringed with utter disappointment from a person I have always regarded as an officer and a gentleman. Why Mr Kanteh couldn’t sooner get to the point illustrated a lot about his insincerity or perhaps his battle with his conscience for flouting the truth under oath.

Notwithstanding I believe that the protracted grilling from the counsel to just get hesitant Mr Kanteh to finally acknowledge what he wrote derailed his concentration to ask the right follow-up question that would have exposed his irrationality.

In his evasive explanation he mentioned being so caring to me in my mad state by constantly counseling me with encouraging words that I had to write about it with special appreciation in my 2006 published book Coup de tat by the Gambia National Army.

If Mr Kanteh was counseling me in the state of mind he truly believed I was-total madness-I think it would have been fair to me and his believers to understand how I could have remembered his compassionate actions to write about it in my book published twelve years later? Certainly, I wrote a lot about Mr Kanteh’s humane actions towards me describing even the clothes he used to wear when counseling me.

So unless he says that he later explained the events to me in the way I detailed them in my book, I see no reason why any reasonable person should accept his assertion of dealing with a mad man at the time. The details are in my book available at Amazon books store. I had faked a survival tactic for all of us and later convincingly explained my actions to those I thought needed to know including Mr Kanteh.

Let me make a comparison here. What conclusion did one arrive at in Mr Amadou Suwareh’s testimony, laced with utter deception like that of Mr Aboubacarr Jeng’s, and how the former explained his incredible activities at the Denton Bridge that literally contradicted everything testified by his senior Mr Ibrahima Chongan prompting the counsel to ask him how Mr Chongan couldn’t recall all of that? I think that was sarcasm aimed at telling an adult to stop lying.

Similarly therefore, I had expected the counsel to ask Mr Kanteh why Mr Sheriff Gomez the previous day couldn’t in his elaborate testimony remember any of what he explained about my madness. Sheriff I was sure could not, because he knew the facts.

With all frankness, I think there is no better answer to all these never ending questions aimed at proving me insane than to find the report of the doctors at the RVH headed by Dr Jones who after subjecting me through a comprehensive medical examination two months later gave me a clean bill of health.

The team submitted a conclusive report to the government. All of the detainees at Confinement Number 4 were aware of that fact but will never say it.

If that medical report had confirmed my insanity, I don’t think the government would have few months later released and appointed me deputy commander of the GNA where I eventually become the Army Commander in 1997.

Anyway before explaining everything about what exactly happened to me at Mile Two prisons let me first point out some of the grey areas still left dubious about issues mentioned so far.

I think the TRRC should have included senior military or police officers like Captain Momodou Kassama living in England, a fine former GNA officer and former ADC to President Jawara for verifying the false information being fed to the gullible by these witnesses from the Gambia security forces.

For instance, the theory presented by Abu Jeng with a straight lying face on January 15, that during the coup he observed the GNA soldiers wearing civilian undershirts and under pants in preparation to discard their uniforms and blend with the civilian population in the event of a foreign military intervention was as false as the set of teeth he was wearing. The GNA soldiers despite their limited experience in fighting wars were even ready to fight the Americans if they had intervened with their amphibious tanks. And I bet, that if the TRRC exercise is to continue for the next ten years with ten witnesses testifying everyday not a single person will confirm that. Nobody ever heard about or saw that happen at all.

Yes, the Senegalese Armed Forces were certainly poised to intervene until although he lied a lot about how the problem was resolved, Captain Mamat Cham and I went to talk to their Ambassador, one Mr. Kebbeh at his residence at Cape Point Bakau. The day after, the ambassador provided us with a telephone link between Ex-President Jammeh and Ex-President Joof that finally settled the confusion.

I was at the State House with Abu Jeng up to the day I was arrested 27th day of July 1994. For him to further say that apart from Yaya Jammeh he was the only one who had had a functioning office there was at best an exaggeration and at worst one of his shameless fabrications. He either didn’t know or ignored the fact that I was the military staff officer and had my office within the premises for two years where I in fact wrote the maiden speech of the coup or that he was as habitual just lying again. No wonder most of his fellow police officers he said were moving around with him in those early days of the coup including Captain Kalifa Bajinka and Lieutenant Jarju (may their souls rest in peace) are dead. So he knows that he can freely fabricate stories with no chance for verification.

Abu Jeng also said that he could confirm my insanity at Mile Two Prisons because he used to give me food forgetting that Mr Alagie Kanteh already said that I was depressed and refused to eat any food throughout my madness. I wish someone had asked him how Mr Kanteh couldn’t remember him giving me food.

As for Captain Mamat Cham I think he exhibited nothing but clinical symptoms of early dementia. This guy couldn’t even remember that General Dada was in the country that day, and he kept on saying that he was with Colonel Owonobi who was in Nigeria with Colonel Guadebe to report the impasse between the two disagreeing Nigerian Commanders. It was Colonel Akoji who was acting as commander. Cham did not also tell the truth about how the young officers after planning the coup invited him to join them and he initially accepted but later chickened out and started spreading the false concept that he disagreed with them over the criteria of appointing their executive after succeeding. Though his real beef with Singhateh and Sabally was his treacherous activities of being heard telling other contacted captains that he will organize a countercoup if the “boys” succeeded. I knew all these things about him while we were in jail, thanks to the late Captain Ndure Cham (RIP) who told me what happened. I confronted him then and he admitted it. I mentioned all that in my book, swearing that if I had known I wouldn’t have spent a minute with him at the State House let alone working with him in those early critical days.

The man is a master conspirator and played a huge part in destroying the GNA. He further lied when he said that I asked him to write an apology letter to President Jammeh in order to be rehired after being released from prison. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with his treachery at that time especially in the army he helped to instigate the 1994 coup de tat.

Why the government now salvaged this discredited captain, discarded in the streets for twenty-two years and giving him the rank of a brigadier general with the appointment of GNA commander he doesn’t deserve epitomized the abuse of military ethics and standards. How can the Gambia conduct a fair and meaningful security reform with the likes of these square pegs in round holes accommodated?

Captain Cham’s testimony was brutally misleading, obliging me to set the records straight as soon as this topic is exhausted. Let him be informed that he will be hearing from me on everything we did together. I am not a moron like him who used to argue with the detainees about he didn’t ever believe in the existence of dinosaurs because they were not mentioned in the holy Quran.

By Samsudeen Sarr

To be continued

One Comment

  1. Will you sincerely agree that all of you coup makers betrayed the country.

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