By Yankuba Jallow
Warrant Officer Class 2 Lamin Colley has admitted before the TRRC that he accidentally discharged life-bullet on Sergeant Fafa Nyang which resulted in his death.
WO2 Colley said this whilst appearing before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on Wednesday, the 20th March 2019 as the 31st witness of the Commission. He said he was born on the 24th November 1961 in Dimbaya Village and completed schooling in 1979. Soon after completing school, he said he joined the WEC Mission in Sibanor as an auxiliary nurse from 1980-82. He said he later joined MRC as a data collector. He joined the army in January 1991.
About the November 11 Incident
The witness said Edward Singhtey told him that there were some disgruntled elements in the army, but they would pay a high price for their actions. He said while talking to Singhatey, he saw Sabally and Sadibou Hydara who were looking furious and both of them were in a haste. He added that after the junta members left, he went to the clinic at the Yundum Barracks where he spent the night with some soldiers.
“The atmosphere at the Yundum Barracks was confusing. It was at night and you wouldn’t know who the enemies were. The atmosphere was not normal; it was fearful because we feared attack,” the witness adduced.
He said around 9 am of the 11th November 1994, whilst inside the clinic, he saw vehicles and a truck coming into the Yundum Barracks. He added that the vehicles were packed around the Officers’ Mess at the Anti-Room.
“Later I heard a gunshot around where the vehicles were packed,” he said.
He said he rushed into the clinic, picked-up his weapon (AK 47) and rushed towards the direction. Whilst moving towards the direction, he said he saw Fafa Nyang crossing towards the Cook House and eventually lying along the road suffering from a gunshot wound. He added before he reached the late Nyang, his hand touched the trigger which resulted in discharging a bullet at Nyang which led to his immediate death.
He said he saw Fafa Nyang walking on his feet before been gun-down.
“I saw him cross before he was shot. I rushed to save him but my hand mistakenly touched the triggered and finished-up my colleague- Fafa Nyang,” the witness explained.
He told the Commission that as a medical personnel, it was his duty to save lives even those at the brink of death.
“He could have survived if not for my mistake. My hand touched the trigger and immediately my gun fired at this innocent man (Fafa Nyang) and I saw blood coming out from his head,” the witness said.
Thereafter, continuing with his testimony he said that he heard a voice which according to him resembled the voice of Sanna Sabally urging him to vacate the premises.
“Have you done any check on your weapon to confirm whether it was at safe mode before leaving to the direction you heard the gunshot?” Counsel Mariam Singhateh inquired.
The witness in his response said he failed to do the check on the weapon to ascertain whether the weapon was at safe or semi-automatic or an automatic mode. He said it is a usual practice that as a soldier it is required for the person to check whether a weapon is empty and whether is at safe mode or not.
“How many shots came out from your weapon?” Counsel Singhateh asked.
“It was only a single shot that was released from my weapon. The weapon was at a semi-automatic mode,” he replied.
He told the Commission that the discharge from his weapon was an accidental discharge.
“The bullet landed on his left jaw and I saw blood flowing from his face. I don’t intend to kill Fafa Nyang because I rushed towards him to help him because of his condition. It was not intended to kill him,” the witness adduced.
He said Fafa Nyang was very helpful to him during his recruitment training.
He said after Fafa Nyang was gunned-down, he saw Edward Singhatey with a pistol and modernized AK 47. He added that he also saw Sadibou Hydara, Peter Singhatey and Sanna Sabally.
Testimony of Lieutenant-Colonel Baboucar Sanyang
In his testimony, he said he was born and brought in Busura, adding that he completed his recruitment training in 1985. He explained various ranks and pieces of training he underwent as well as achievements. He said he was deployed to the Bravo Company; which was a company responsible for ceremonial duties. He added that in the year 1991, he was deployed to the ECOMOG Contingent – 2 where they spent about 7 to 8 months. He told the Commission that they were only supposed to stay for only 6 months but due to logistical challenges, they were delayed because there was no flight available for their return.
He said when they returned home, some of their elements decided to stage a demonstration and were arrested. He indicated that some were prosecuted and convicted by court-martial.
He said he was deployed to the Yundum Barracks as a drill sergeant and instructor.
About July 22
He said July 22, 1994, coup met him at Farafenni where they were training a new batch of soldiers. He said when the news of the coup reached them, Lieutenant Sam Gibba and Lieutenant Yankuba Touray gave an instruction that they should be deployed to Barra. He said both Gibba and Touray were platoon commanders. He said one L.F. Jammeh brought the idea of seizing civilian vehicles for the journey. He said they were faced with the challenge of transportation and so they stopped a truck driver and ordered him to drive them to Barra.
“Whilst we were in the ferry, Yankuba Touray disclosed to us that there was an ongoing military coup,” the witness testified.
He told the Commission that Lieutenant Gibba blatantly told them that he won’t participate in any military coup.
“Yankuba Touray and LF Jammeh were very eager to reach Barra. When we reached, Yankuba Touray crossed to Banjul and organized a navy boat for us to cross,” the witness explained.
He said they spent two days at the Navy headquarters and later moved to the State House where he was attached under the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). He said he spent about a month at the State House and was redeployed to Yundum Barracks where Lieutenant Basirou Barrow was the commander at that time.
Sanyang will continue his testimony today at 10 am.