By Mafugi Ceesay & Omar Bah
Former AFPRC junta member, Edward Singhatey has said he accepted “responsibility” for the murders of Lieutenants Basiru Barrow, Dot Faal, Gibril Saye, Buba Jammeh, Abdoulie Bah Sgts Fafa Sanyang, Basirou Camara, EM Ceesay, Bakary Manneh and Cadet Sillah.
Singhatey told the Truth Commission yesterday that he was present during the execution of the coup-plotting soldiers.
“I was there. But I did not shoot. Sana Sabally was commanding. But I accept responsibility for their killings. I would plead guilty to the murder of Basiru Barrow and Dot Faal even in court, because I was physically present… I also instructed the killing of Sergeants Fafa Sanyang, Basirou Camara and EM Ceesay as ordered by Sana Sabally [the vice chairman],” he said.
Singhatey said at Yundum Barracks Sabally gave orders for the rest of the ringleaders in the cells to be executed.
“They were ordered out of the cells, we took them somewhere in the bush and I instructed the soldiers to shoot them,” he noted.
Singhatey said after the first round of killings, they went back to the State House and briefed Yahya Jammeh who ordered them to go back and “finish the job”.
“We went back and executed Buba Jammeh, Abdoulie Bah, Bakary Manneh, Cadet Sillah and Lieutenant Gibril Saye at Brikama. But I did not participate directly in their murder, I did not fire,” he added.
Singhatey, now a distinguished lawyer, denied directly torturing anyone including the then removed PPP ministers.
He admitted to the illegality of the killings and expressed his remorse saying: “I wish we can reverse the decision. I am asking them to find it in their hearts to forgive me and those who were under my command. Everything we did was wrong and I also apologise to their families. Some of them were good soldiers. I am deeply sorry for my actions. I take full responsibility for my actions. I can only imagine the pains that they the families have gone through for what happened. If they can find it in their hearts to forgive for the sake of the Almighty Allah, then I will appreciate it. I could have died in 1994 just like they died. I would really like to express my sorrow for my actions to the families. I am deeply sorry”.
Explaining the circumstances leading to the purported plot for which Sabally was removed and detained, Singhatey said the former president Yahya Jammeh, became “petrified” of his deputy whom he repeatedly accused of working to depose him.
He rejected suggestions that he conspired with Jammeh to remove Sabally.
He gave graphic details about an incident when Jammeh buried alive a ram at State House on the orders of a marabout to ward off his imminent fall from power.
“Jammeh told me Sana wanted to launch a coup because he believed Sana was going to close the [Denton] Bridge. One day, he [Jammeh] came earlier than 8am at the Ministry of Defence and knocked on my door. From what I could see, he really felt threatened by Sana. I was still not bought 100% at this stage [about his story of Sana staging a coup].”
But he said Jammeh told him he had received an intelligence report that Sana was planning an attack on both of them.