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Alleged coup leader denies attempt to overthrow Barrow

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By Binta A Bah

Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, the alleged ringleader of three soldiers and a police officer accused of last December’s coup plot, has denied any wrongdoing as he opens his defence.

In his testimony of defence, Fadera dismissed the allegations made by prosecution witnesses, particularly the testimonies of Captain Mamat Jobe and Sergeant Karamo Jatta whose evidence linked him to the alleged coup plot.

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He is standing trial with Sergeant Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sano, and Sub-inspector Fabakary Jawara on charges of treason, concealment of treason and incitement of mutiny before Justice Basirou Mahoney of the High Court in Banjul. They denied all charges. Omar Njie, who was one of the accused persons, was released last Wednesday after a successful no-case submission by his lawyer.

Further testifying, Fadera denied discussing anything with Mamat Jobe about overthrowing the government.

“I have never spoken to him at any time regarding this alleged coup,” he told the court, dismissing Jobe’s allegation that he informed him that he was the ringleader. He said Jobe’s claim that he showed him the operational plan is also false.

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Sergeant Karamo Jatta had also given evidence that Fadera showed him the operational plan and deployment of commandos which was admitted as evidence by the prosecution. However, when the said document was shown to Fadera by his lawyer Lamin S Camara, he said that was his first time seeing it.

“I’m not the author of the operational plan of the alleged coup. This is above my knowledge because such plans are planned by the high command,” he testified.

According to Fadera, he is not in position to deploy commandos in the Gambia National Army as he is a lance corporal which is a first rank.

“I am not entitled to move any soldier in the armed forces,” he argued.

Asked by his lawyer what rank in the military can move commandos, Fadera responded that from a corporal to a 2nd lieutenant. However, he said a corporal at the command level is not entitled to move soldiers without the authority of the lieutenant.

Responding to Sergeant Jatta’s claims that he attended a meeting in Kafuta allegedly discussing how to overthrow the government, Fadera said there was “never a meeting”. He said he in fact denied the claim when he was confronted by the investigation panel into the issue.

He also denied discussing with Sergeant Jatta of plans to give away 200 ‘jujus’ to soldiers taking part in the said alleged coup. He also described the allegation that he was going to promote soldiers after the coup as “false”.

Fadera also dismissed accusations that he was going to arrest ministers including the CDS and IGP who were going to be used as hostages to avoid military intervention.

“Did you tell him weapons intended for use in the December 30th attack will be used by your soldiers for the alleged coup plot?” his lawyer asked and Fadera responded: “No because I have no idea about the weapons he mentioned.”

Fadera also denied telling Sergeant Jatta that he has ammunition including four rockets, tanks, night goggles and combat helmets. He further denied telling him that the transition period will be one year after agreeing with the civilians.

“All the alleged interactions with Jatta did not happen.”

He also slammed the first witness, Barra Touray who said in court that he (Fadera) wanted him and his men at the Yundum Barracks to join him to overthrow the government. He said he had never spoken to Touray about the alleged coup attempt.

On the issue of the marabout, Yaya Manjang who testified as a state witness in this case, Fadera said he does not know him and has never met him or sent anyone to see him nor has he spoken to him on the phone.

Trial continues today.

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