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Letters: former ADC Cpt Momodou Lamin Gassama been hearing Gen. Tamba’s testimony at the TRRC? No cell phones in The Gambia in 1994

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Has former ADC Cpt Momodou Lamin Gassama been hearing Gen. Tamba’s testimony at the TRRC? No cell

phones in The Gambia in 1994

Dear editor,

I only hope former ADC to Sir Dawda Jawara, Captain Momodou Gassama has been listening to Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba’s testimony at the TRRC when in his dispute of the baseless allegation that he was communicating with Yahya Jammeh on the day of the coup, July 22, 1994 as the GNA soldiers marched on to topple the PPP government that there were no mobile phones in the Gambia then to facilitate that possibility.

For Captain Gassama to have stated that I had called him on his cell phone from Radio Gambia while he was in the American battleship with Sir Dawda was inaccurate and very dishonest of him.

Since Gassama’s appearance in the beginning of the TRRC “show”, Navy Commander M. B. Sarr had appeared before the commission to confirm that I did visit the Marine Unit in Banjul that morning in an effort to use their men and the 50-Calibre machine guns brought along for the Unit by the visiting Americans. They were weapons I thought were capable of neutralizing any heavy arsenals in the hands of the approaching forces from Yundum Barracks because the captain, before I left the Statehouse that morning, had informed me that the mutineers had broken into the armory and were armed with the army’s heavy weapons.

It was after my effort at the Marine Unit had failed that I decided to drive to Yundum Barracks to find out what was going on.

However, at the Denton Bridge, I found the resisting forces led by Assistant Inspector General of the Gambia Police Force Ebrima Chongan tactically deployed in fighting positions with the Banjul highway closed to in and outbound traffic to the city.

On the other side however, after I was allowed by the police chief to cross their restricted line of defense to talk to the GNA troops, I successfully met and talked to the late Captain Momodou Sonko, Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh and 2nd Lieutenant Edward Singhatey who were leading the GNA soldiers.

Despite all the rubbish narrated at the TRRC, it was my intervention that diffused the built-up tension at the bridge that almost erupted into an armed conflict before my arrival which I still believe was absolutely unnecessary. All the Monday morning quarterbacks theorizing over what should, could and would have been done best to arrest, fight, shoot, run or jump anybody or anything to foil the coup mean nothing after the ultimate outcome.

From the Denton Bridge, I went to Radio Gambia, escorted by a squad of 12 men commanded by Corporal Njie (Pongkal) where I called Captain Gassama on his office line at the president’s office, using the telephone of Mrs. Jallow the managing director. I informed Gassama about the situation, the intention of the mutineers and who were leading them to overthrow the government. It was soon after that update that President Jawara and his entourage left for the American vessel. So for Captain Gassama to have said what he had said by doubting my actions that day and insinuating that my activities were suspicious was at best malicious and at worst very treacherous. There were no mobile phones in the country, hence I couldn’t have called him at the battleship from Radio Gambia that was evidently an invention.

I even had spoken to Gen Tamba from the Radio station and had equally updated him about the soldiers, their leaders, strength of the troops and objective before their arrival at the Statehouse. By then, Sir Dawda Jawara, his family members, two principal security chiefs-IGP Pa Sallah Jagne and State Guard Commander Kaba Bajo-and his key government officials had all been offered sanctuary at the Lamour-County Ship.

Samsudeen Sarr

USA

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