Prosecution witness seventh (PW 7) Karamo Jatta of Lamin Babylon and a member of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) testified in the ongoing coup trial involving four (4) members of the GAF and one (1) policeman. Jatta’s testimony was centered around his encounter with the alleged ring leader (Sanna Fadera) and the meeting he attended in Kafuta regarding the coup.
Jatta was enrolled at GAF in 2002 and is currently posted at the Farafenni Barracks. He mentioned that he recognized three of the accused persons – Sanna Fadera, Gibiril Darboe, and Ebrima Sannoh.
He explained that he was called by Sanna Fadera on 3 December 2022 informing him that he wants them to talk about an important matter. He said Sanna told him that the country was not going in the right direction as the taxpayers are suffering likewise the soldiers. He added that Sanna promised to visit him at Farafenni.
He testified that Sanna Fadera visited him at Farafenni on a Friday and he ushered him to his house. He explained that Sanna informed him that the coup was well planned asking him to get him another soldier. He said Sanna brought out a pamphlet which was the operational plan and the operational map. He added that Sanna told him some officers were involved, but the names would not be disclosed. The witness said he snapped the operational plan for the alleged coup.
After the meeting, he said Sanna invited him to attend another meeting which was scheduled to take place on 18 December 2022 at Brikama, West Coast Region.
On the 18, the witness said he traveled to Brikama to attend the meeting and he met Sanna Fadera at the Jah Oil fuel station. He explained that he was with Sanna in a compound waiting for others to come for the meeting. He said Sanna spoke to one Jadama who was responsible for the mobilization of the men and he was able to hear their conversation as the call was on loudspeaker. At 12:40, the witness said one driver came who he later came to know as Mustapha Jabbie (Pw4)came and the venue of the meeting was changed to Kafuta.
The witness said four (4) of them were in the vehicle including the driver (Mustapha Jabbie) and they drove to Gibril Darboe’s house. He testified that they found sits arranged for them under a mango tree. He said Sanna was handed a blue book which he handed to Sannoh who was the spokesperson. During the meeting, the witness said Sanna promised to improve the work condition of the soldiers whereas he will promote all participants in the coup. He added that they discussed and agreed to arrest the Chief of Defense Staff (CDC) of GAF and the Inspector General of Police (IGP). He stated that Sanna told them that there was an arrangement in place to use radio stations to announce the launch of the coup, but the stations that agreed to do that were not mentioned.
He testified that Sanna informed him that some people were doing the mobilization of civilians to demonstrate in support of the coup. He said Sanna told them that the soldiers have been mobilized they were ready to fight in the coup. The witness said he requested the list but Sanna told him that it was not safe to prepare a list so that if they are arrested it would not be possible to trace them. He added that they discussed the types of weapons they will use in the protest.
The witness said he asked Sanna Fadera (the alleged ringleader and 1st accused person) about the mobilization of the soldier’s from the different battalions about the arms they will use and Sanna informed him that they will use the 30th December attackers’ arms and ammunition which were not used then for the intended purpose.
Defence Lawyer Kadijatou Jallow objected to the testimony claiming that it was hearsay, but the court overruled her.
Witness Jatta stated that Sanna Fadera notified him that the coup was going to be staged in either December 2022 and he’s waiting on a marabout based in the Republic of Mali who is doing Marabout work to give him the green light to launch the coup.
The witness further testified that Sanna told him that they will only rule for one year and return the Government to civilian rule. State Counsel Abdul Maita Yusuf, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution asked the witness why he used “they” and not “we” and the witness responded that he used they because he decided that he won’t participate in the illegal takeover of a Government but just following them to gather information.
The witness said he reported the matter to his authorities on 12th December 2022. The witness identified the purported operational plan of the alleged coup plotters when shown to him which is already in evidence.
The case was adjourned to Thursday for cross-examination by the defense counsels.