By Yankuba Jallow
Commissioners of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), have spear headed the excavation of the alleged mass graves of soldiers executed by the junta and their orderlies during the November 11 1994 abortive coup plot.
The exercise which was held on last Saturday April 6th and Sunday April 7th 2019, took place at the Yundum Barracks, the home of the Infantry of the Gambia Armed Forces.
The exercise was done with the assistance of a caterpillar, in the presence of forensic experts at the TRRC. The place was identified by witnesses who testified before Truth Commission including TRRC witness Alagie Kanyi, who has admitted to have participated during the burial exercise.
During excavation on both days, no remains of the alleged executed soldiers were found. Superintendent Thomas Gomez, a forensic expert working with the TRRC, said the process must be completed. “If we do not find anything now, we have to excavate the whole area, from the old cook house to the end,” Gomez said.
If readers can recall, several witnesses indicated in their testimonies before the TRRC, that some members of the Gambia Armed Forces were executed on the 11th of November 1994, by a group of soldiers headed by Captain Sanna Sabally, an erstwhile Vice Chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC).
According to the testimonies of the witnesses, the group of soldiers who actually participated in the execution of their fellow soldiers were Captains Edward Singhatey, Sadibou Hydara andYankuba Touray, Corporals Alagie Kanyi, JCB Mendy, Lance Corporal Batch Samba Jallow and others, including junior officers.
The soldiers and officers who were executed included Lieutenants Abdoulie ‘Dot’ Faal, Basirou Barrow, Gibril Saye, and Sergeant Fafa Nyang, Cadet Amadou M. Sillah, Buba Jammeh, and others.
The excavation exercise according to investigators of the Truth Commission, will continue.
“If we do not see their remains, we will dig the entire area that has been identified. We may even destroy this structure (ie. the poultry house). The process must be completed,” one of them reiterated.