By Omar Bah
One of the soldiers sentenced to nine years imprisonment by the General Court Martial at Yundum Barracks yesterday, defiantly declared “we are happy!”
Cpt Yahya Jammeh was among nine soldiers slammed with custodial sentences ranging from three to nine years after they were found guilty of various crimes including attempting to overthrow the government of President Adama Barrow.
The court martial led by Judge Advocate Sainabou Wadda-Cisse sentenced Cpt Yahya B Jammeh, Lt Abdoulie Jarju, Lt Yahya Jammeh, Sgt Babucarr Sanneh, Sgt Malick Bojang, Lance Corporal Abba Badjie and Private Mbemba Camara to nine years while Private Alieu Sanneh who was found guilty on four counts was sentenced to three years.
They were arrested with four other soldiers in 2017 accused of conspiring through WhatsApp to overthrow the government and charged with nine offences including treason and mutiny.
Four other soldiers: Corporal Sulayman Sanyang, Corporal Lamin Gibba, Corporal Ebrima Jallow and Lance Corporal Samboujang Bojang were acquitted and discharged.
Colonel Salifu Bojang, the president of the court martial said the trial was initiated under the Gambia Armed Forces Act and its subsidiary legislation.
After the court martial delivered its judgment, a young man believed to be a relative of one of the sentenced soldiers, interjected “Allahu Akbar”, telling the judges, “You have delivered judgment today unfairly, but God shall judge you on the Day of Judgment”. The judges immediately ordered for his arrest.
The 12 soldiers were facing prosecution on nine counts of treason, incitement to mutiny, failure to report mutiny, conspiracy to commit mutiny, endeavouring to persuade members of the Armed Forces to take part in mutiny, negligent or willful interference with lawful custody and connivance of desertion.