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Coup suspect denies holding meeting to overthrow Barrow

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By Binta A Bah

Private officer Gibril Darboe, a suspect in last December’s coup plot, has strongly denied holding a meeting at his house in Kafuta together with his co-accused to overthrow President Adama Barrow.

Darboe is the most senior officer in the trial of three soldiers and a police officer in connection with the alleged coup plot.

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Darboe, father of four was testifying as his lawyer LL Darboe led him into his defence, a day after the testimony of Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, the alleged leader of the coup plot.

“I never conveyed any meeting at my house with any of the accused persons to overthrow the government of the Gambia. And I did not at any time come across any information of the alleged coup and concealed it,” Darboe testified.

He said Mustapha Jabbi, the state’s fourth witness claims that a meeting was held in his house is not true. “I never knew Jabbi until I was arrested. It was during the interrogation at the SIS headquarters that he was brought before the panel of investigation for identification purposes. I was asked if I knew him, but I told them that was the first time seeing him,” he said.

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Darboe testified that his reason for joining the army is to safeguard the territory of his country and to be loyal to the president and obey all lawful commands.

“I like my job. I’m a professional in my area of responsibility. I have served the army for 17 years,” Darboe said.

According to Darboe, he and Sanna both worked at the naval base at the Gambia Ports Authority but they have no external relationship. He said Fadera is a medical professional working under Gambia Navy Clinic.

During cross-examination by Lance Corporal Fadera’s lawyer, Darboe told the court that he never had a conversation with him regarding a pending coup.

The state prosecutor Badjie under cross-examination asked if he had advised Lance Corporal Fadera not to go ahead with the alleged coup and Darboe responded: “I did not because there was no plan of a coup plot.”

“I’m putting it to you that the first accused informed you about the coup,” Badjie further pressed but Darboe insisted that he was never informed about a coup plot.

When he was asked if he was supposed to be loyal to the president or the state, lawyer Camara objected arguing that the question is implicating.

“This is a legal question and incriminating so it cannot be answered by the accused. I’m not his counsel but I’m concerned as a counsel,” he said but the state counsel Badjie said the question arose from Darboe’s answers and that he doesn’t need to be a lawyer to answer such a question.

Camara’s objection was overruled and Darboe was ordered to answer the question and he replied that soldiers are both supposed to be loyal to the president and the state.

When asked if he knew former President Yayha Jammeh came to power through a military coup, Darboe said he did not know

Trial continues.

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