Corporal Barra Touray said Sanna Fadera wanted to overthrow the Government of President Adama Barrow.
Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera is the alleged ring leader of the December 2022 foiled coup attempt. The witness, Barra Touray was part of the accused persons and is now discharged by the court. After his release, Touray is placed under “protective custody” under military watch and he is now used as a prosecution witness in the case.
The Accused Persons in this trial are Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera (alleged ring leader), Sergeant Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sannoh, Corporal Omar Njie, and Sub-inspector Fabakary Jawara (as the only police in this suit).
Corporal Barra Touray, a resident of Daru Busumbala, said he knew Sanna Fadera and Omar Njie. He testified that the only time he met Sanna Fadera was at the Yundum Barracks when the alleged coup leader came to change the ordinance to change his beret. He explained that Fadera asked the regimental police (RP) to call him and after exchanging greetings, Fadera disclosed to him that he had the desire to unseat the President. The witness said this happened six (6) to eight (8) months ago.
“He (Sanna Fadera) began explaining his intention to me – that he wanted to overthrow the government of the day,” Touray said.
He said Fadera cited the issues of the ECOMIG presence in the country, the problems around promotion in the army, the welfare of members of the Gambia Armed Forces, and the issue of going on (international) missions.
“I told him (Sanna Fadera) that anyway I can’t make any decision right now. He (Sanna Fadera) said don’t worry I will call you,” the witness said.
The witness said he asked Sanna Fadera how he could call him when he does not have his dial, but Sanna Fadera told him that he already had his mobile number. The witness continued with his testimony saying Sanna Fadera did not call him for a while until October 2022.
“This time, he (Sanna Fadera), told me his intention to me. He told me to help convince some soldiers at the Yundum Battalion to be part of it (the coup). I told him (Sanna Fadera) that I cannot convince any soldier about the issue. He (Sanna Fadera) said ok and I then told him before I take part in this (coup) I need to see your operational plan and that was the end of the call,” Touray said.
He said at a later date, which he cannot recall, Sanna Fadera called him and informed him to see Corporal Omar Njie (4th accused person) about the operational plan. He testified that the next morning, he saw Omar Njie and informed him about his conversation with Sanna Fadera.
“He (Omar Njie) told me right now I don’t have it (operational plan) with me but if I close from work I will come to your room which he never did,” Touray said.
The witness said this was when he decided to text Sanna Fadera indicating that Omar Njie was running away from him. He added that Sanna Fader did not reply to him.
He testified that on the 18th of December 2022, the FIFA World Cup Final Day, Sanna Fadera called him in the morning informing him about a meeting they were supposed to have.
“He did not give information about the meeting. He (Sanna Fadera) only told me there was going to be a meeting,” Touray said.
He said in the evening after the match Sanna Fadera called again and told him not to be fearful – that they had a successful meeting.
The witness said he did not hear from Sanna Fadera until the 20th of December 2022 around 2 pm.
Under cross-examination, the witness said he has been a soldier for 15 to 16 years. He was asked by Lawyer Lamin S. Camara questions about the regimentation of the Gambia Armed Forces. The witness said a Lance Corporal (as in Sanna Fadera case) can only take three men – also referred to as the fire team in the military parlance.
On his arrest, the witness said he was arrested on the 20th of December 2022 and he was not told the reason for his arrest until the 6th of January 2023 when he went to the police headquarters in Banjul. He added that it was the same day he was arraigned before the Banjul Magistrate’s Court on charges of treason and related offences.
Two charge sheets – one was the charge sheet and the other was the amended charge sheet were tendered and marked as DE1 and DE2.
The witness said he was detained for 17 days before he was taken to court. He informed the court that he was discharged by the court on the 26th of January 2023 but he is still under “protective protection. He explained that he was held at the Atlantic Hotel for one day before he was moved to Kotu where he is currently under the watch of military intelligence.
“I only met Sanna Fadera only once and that was the day he came to the Yundum Barracks for the ordinance,” the witness said.
He said he cannot tell the number of times he spoke with Sanna Fadera over the phone. He added that he has never seen the operational plan for the coup.