By Toabora Bojang
Cherno Njie, the leader of the 30th December 2014 dramatic abortive coup against former President Yahya Jammeh, has disclosed that both the former president and his strong guard commander Saul Badjie fled The Gambia having been told of the arrival of his team of invaders into the country.
Speaking at a recent press conference, Njie said Jammeh knew about their presence but both him and Badjie did not know the strength and nature of the invading team and so Jammeh surreptitiously left the country for the Middle East while Saul Badjie fled to Casamance.
Njie said his team was aware of the former president’s decision to fly out of the country after realizing a credible threat against him and they chose to let him go.
“If you are a dictator who kills people you should assume that somebody is after you. He knew somebody is going to be after him every day he wakes up. So there is no doubt in our mind that Jammeh knew of this credible threat against him and that is why he fled and abandoned the country,” Cherno Njie said.
Alagie Saidy Barrow, a member of the attack team who fled after the coup failed, also revealed that when Jammeh realized the presence of a possible attack force in the country and not knowing their size and composition or capabilities, he decided to leave for the Middle East and gave false destinations such as US, Chad or Dubai.
“When Jammeh knew of our information he passed it on to Saul Badgie and he [Saul Badgie] ran away to Casamance. I myself and Modou Njie went all over the Gambia looking for Saul Badgie with arms but he disappeared. So they knew we were here and they ran away,” Barrow said.
He maintained that the late captain Lamin Sanneh who didn’t survive the attack, has had direct contact and connections with people mostly in charge of State House at the time who “unfortunately did not hold on to their assurances.”
He further revealed that at the time of the attack every information within themselves was kept on “a need to know basis” with each member knowing very little of the other. “But the fact that Diaspora media at the time were making announcements and bragging about a mystery bound to occur in the Gambia heightened the risks we took but information about our personnel and capabilities were jealously guarded from everybody,” he added.
Both Njie and Barrow stated that Jammeh’s claims that foreign countries were part of the plot was false. “This was conceived, funded and carried out by Gambians,” he affirmed.