By Baba Sillah
On 21 March 2006, the government of President Yahya Jammeh foiled a planned coup. More than 20 suspected plotters including civilians were arrested. Some were jailed and others extra-judicially killed. But the mastermind, army chief of staff Colonel Ndure Cham, fled the country.
Since then reports have been circulating that he has been captured and killed. However, until now, no official confirmation has been publicly given of the circumstances leading to his arrest and reported death.
The Standard investigative team can now authoritatively confirm how the outspoken former army chief was ensnared, captured and killed.
Warrant Officer Pa Ousman Sanneh, a member of President Jammeh’s death squad known as the Junglers has been captured and during interrogations, spilled the beans.
He told investigators that during Ramadan in 2015, he was telephoned by a senior Jungler, Captain Michael Jatta, that there was an operation to arrest runaway Col Ndure Cham near Farafenni. He narrated: “We assembled and met at the highway. Lt Col Nuha Badjie, Major Rambo, Captain Mustapha Sanneh, Captain Michael Jatta, WO1 Nfansu Nyabally, Staff Sgt Saul Sambou, Staff Sgt Amadou Badjie, WO2 Malick Manga, Sgt Saikouba Jarju, Staff Sgt Omar A Jallow (Oya) and myself all boarded a vehicle and drove through TransGambia [Highway] to Bambatenda.
“Upon arrival at Farafenni, we picked up Musa Johnson and proceeded with him to the location where Ndure Cham was hiding in the garden. Upon our arrival at the garden, we made an outer covering behind the fence of the garden. The rest [of the men] then proceeded inside the garden and [Cham] was arrested by Rambo, Lt Mustapha Sanneh, Nyabally and Michael Jatta. When coming out of the garden they whistled us to come out and join the van we were using. Ndure Cham was in Rambo’s vehicle. We headed to Tanji at the NIA office where he was detained for almost three weeks.”
However, talking to the investigators, Staff Sgt Omar A Jallow said in 2013, while at home, Warrant Officer Malick Manga telephoned to tell him he was to be on duty at the NIA Tanji training school together with Sulayman Sambou. He said, the next day, he took a taxi and picked up Sambou by Senegambia and they went to Tanji where they took over from Manga. He said while they were there Sulayman Sambou “started beating the detainee Ndure Cham mercilessly” until he [Jallow] got annoyed.
He said at the end of their guard shift, three vehicles were brought and Cham was put in the middle vehicle. He said although Major Nuha Badjie was present, Lt Col Solo Bojang led the operation. He said the vehicles headed for the Fonis.
He explained: “We were using three vehicles. One driven by Mustapha Sanneh and [the other] by Malick Manga. The vehicle where the detainee was, was in the middle and he was sandwiched by Sambou and Nyabally who suffocated Ndure Cham in the vehicle at just on the highway before entering Yundum.”
Jallow said they proceed to a village [in the Fonis] the name of which he could not recalled and Solo Bojang identified a place and they ‘buried him in the bush”.