Gambia’s ex-number two buries hatchet

AFP

Banjul: The right-hand man of Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh made peace Wednesday with a former fellow officer whom he arrested following the 1994 military coup for allegedly plotting against the leader.

Earlier this week, former army captain Edward Singhateh had told Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Committee (TRRC) that he was personally responsible for the arrest of Sana Sabally — a fellow putschist — in November 1994.

Sabally was subsequently tortured and spent nine years in prison.

Demonstrators hold up a banner reading “Who votes for Hoecke votes for fascism” as they protest against the top candidate of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party for regional elections in Thuringia, as he attends an election campaign event on Wednesday in Gotha, eastern Germany. Photo: AFP

But Singhateh testified that the investigation that had led to Sabally’s conviction — and which alleged he had attempted to shoot Jammeh — was built on a web of lies.

On Monday, Singhateh had admitted being “partially responsible” for the arrest, torture and execution of suspected political opponents during Jammeh’s 22-year reign.

Another figure involved in the coup, Sadibou Hydara — whom Singhateh also had arrested — died in detention.

“Anything that has happened, I feel partially responsible, and for that I’m deeply remorseful,” he had told the TRRC.

In the wake of that testimony, the two men publicly buried the hatchet on Wednesday, shaking hands and then embracing in front of television cameras.

“When I listened to Edward’s testimony, I understood we fall in the same category — either way we were victims, either way we were oppressors,” Sabally said.

“So I decided to initiate the line so that we can reconcile for our personal interest but also so that we can (jointly) ask for forgiveness (from) the nation, so that the victims can find it in their hearts to forgive us,” he said.

Singhateh, for his part, said: “We should not have been in this situation right now. This is not what we decided in 1994.” – AFP

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