By Mafugi Ceesay
Amadou Sanneh, treasurer of the United Democratic Party, has told the TRRC that the AFPRC junta had not allowed any conducive climate for opposition parties to operate especially in the CRR where he said he contested three times for parliament and lost.
In his testimony on the UDP 1996 ambush, Sanneh alleged that former military commissioner Momodou Bojang used to threaten the people of that area with armed soldiers who would go round and tell people to vote for the APRC or face the consequences.
“The AFPRC members paid no regards to the established procedures whenever they needed something. They have no respect to the established regulations.
They were authoritarian and wouldn’t listen to people,” Sanneh said.
He described Ousman Koro Ceesay, an ex-Minister of Finance who is allegedly murdered by the AFPRC government as a very intelligent, vocal and a straightforward person.
He said the government then used the security forces as agents of torture and harassment of their opposition particularly the UDP.
Narrating his ordeal in 1996, Sanneh said he was part of the UDP campaign traveling from Tallingding to Banjul on 22nd September 1996. He said he was in the lead vehicle and he recalled that some security vehicles overtook them and mounted a checkpoint at the Denton Bridge waiting for them.
Upon arrival at the Denton Bridge, Sanneh said soldiers, among them former junta member Yankuba Touray, ordered all passengers in the convoy to disembark.
He said gunshots could be heard in the air as soldiers ordered them to undress and started walking over them, beating them severely.
After this, Sanneh said they were transported to Marina Parade in Banjul where they repeated similar torture on them.
He said he sustained injuries on his back and his head was swollen but managed to escape and sought refuge in a local hotel in Banjul until the following morning when his family sent a vehicle to pick him up.
He said two days later, he was arrested and detained at the NIA for 18 days and denied the chance to vote in the 1996 presidential election.
He said his brother Njundu Sanneh came to the NIA to inquire about his whereabouts but one Foday Barry, an operative of the agency ordered for his arrest and his detention.
“So my brother too was detained and spent the night in the cell at the NIA,” Sanneh said.
He said throughout his detention, he was never provided medical care, no was he allowed bath.
M Sanneh also recounted another bloody incident in 2002 when the UDP went on a tour in the Upper River Region with him in the same vehicle party Secretary-General, Ousainu Darboe.
He said while they were on their way to Kulari, they were attacked by people who were hiding in the bush, adding that the attackers started pelting stones at their convoy, forcing their driver to make a U-turn.
Sanneh recalled seeing a damaged government vehicle he did not know which of the group actually damaged it.
“I can say it was burnt during the fight. The vehicle was used as a weapon for the attackers.
I don’t know which group burnt the vehicle.
It was a government vehicle but in this instance, it was a weapon used by the attackers,” Sanneh said.
He said the attackers were armed with cutlasses and razor blades but they were apprehended by the UDP militants.
“We took the three attackers that we apprehended to the Basse Police Station with their cutlasses and razor blades,” he said.
Sanneh adduced before the Commission that the attackers were prepared by the APRC militants in Basse.
“It was bushy and we couldn’t see who beat who and we also learned that a man was killed but I did not know by who; the environment was such that we couldn’t see those fighting,” Sanneh stated.
He said after making the report to the Basse Police Station, about 80 to 100 UDP militants were detained there for over a week.
He said they were subsequently charged with the murder of the man. He said they spent years on trial before the won a ‘no case to answer’ submission in which the matter was struck out of court for lack of merit.
In September 2013, he continued, he was arrested by the NIA and detained for writing a letter of asylum attestation for one Malang Fatty.