A former Gambian Army Signal Warrant Officer, Class One (WO1), has been warned to stay away from The Gambia, until dictator Yahya Jammeh’s government becomes history, or otherwise he risked being killed if he visits the impoverished West African nation in the foreseeable future, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. WO1 Momodou Yaya Fofona, a native of Jarra Karantaba, received the threat from a former fellow soldier in active duty in The Gambia, while he (Fofona) was live on Freedom Radio Gambia, on Wednesday, explaining the atrocities committed under Yahya Jammeh’s twenty two years rule.
The soldier sent a text message to Mr. Fofona, with his unregistered Africell mobile phone number, asking him if he had given up visiting The Gambia again—considering the damning revelations he is making on air. The soldier also told Fofona that he risked being arrested at the foot of the aircraft, if he visits The Gambia, or a worst case scenario, he could be killed.
The soldier in question had to dispose the cell phone he used to text Mr, Fofona for fear of being arrested. The regime of Yahya Jammeh monitors phone records of soldiers, including civilians. Telecommunication companies in The Gambia, have been ordered by the dictator to keep track of all issued phone lines and chat records. The regime occasionally targets suspected officers during routine phone scrutiny.
According to Fofona, he told his soldier friend that he has no intention of visiting The Gambia, as far as Yahya Jammeh, is the President of that country. Fofona opines that he rather lives in exile, than to visit a country, being ruled by a despot.
Mr. Fofona, who lives in Sweden, told the Freedom Radio Gambia, during an exclusive interview that during his over twenty years career with The Gambia Armed Forces, he has witnessed instances in which soldiers and army officers loyal to dictator Yahya Jammeh, torturing the country’s opposition officials. He recalled while on standby duty at the Fajara barracks in the early days of the coup, which brought Jammeh to power, soldiers led by the late Lieutenant Almamo Manneh, Michael Secka, alias Duckais, and co, brutally tortured the former PPP officials. Among the tortured officials include: Omar Amadou Jallow, the interim leader of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Ousainou Njie, MC Cham and others.
Mr. Fofona said he was present at Denton bridge when guards led by the former Junta Council Member Yankuba Touray tortured some UDP supporters and officials. He said the UDP lead Griot, was shot at close range by the soldiers thereby killing him.
According to Mr. Fofona, Almamo Manneh and co poured gasoline (petrol) on the bodies of the detainees during the torture session. Mr. Fofona said he never took part in the torture, but he admitted witnessing the incident. He has also never killed any single Gambian during his career with the army, he said.
The former Army Signal officer went on to explain how a group of army officers and soldiers were summarily executed and buried at a pit latrine at the Yundum barracks. Among the officers buried at Yundum include: Captain Basiru Barrow, Lieutenant Abdoulie Faal, AKA DOT Faal, Lieutenant Bah, alias Chopin, Lieutenant Bakary Manneh, alias Nyancho, a Mandinka officer from Nuimi, Lieutenant Buba Jammeh, from Nuimi, also a Mandinka officer, Cadet Sillah, another Mandinka officer from Nuim, and Lieutenant Gibril Saye, a weapon expert from Serre-Kunda.
Ex Army Sergeant Ebrima Ceesay, a native of Kaur, Basiru Camara, and Sergeant Fafa Nyang were also executed buried at the Yundum Barracks pit latrine. He added that Mr. Fafa Nyang was killed by one Lamin Colley, a paramedic with the army.
Mr. Fofona said he is more than ready and willing if summons by the International Criminal Court, or any competent court post Jammeh era, to share his story. He said he hates injustice in any form. He also called on his former colleagues in active duty not to carry out any illegal orders from dictator Yahya Jammeh to harm their countrymen.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai