Human Rights

Coup Plot Trial: Alleged Ring Leader’s One-Year Transition Plan

Karamo Jatta, Gambian army sergeant with over 21 years of military experience, testified before Justice Mahoney of the High Court in Banjul, saying he was told by Lance Corporal Sanna Federa that “a one-year transition” would be implemented if the coup they planned had succeeded.

Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera is the alleged ring leader of a coup plot to overthrow incumbent Adama Barrow’s administration and is being tried for treason and related charges together with four others.

The others indicted together with Sanna are Sergeant Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sannoh, Corporal Omar Njie of the Gambia Armed Forces and Fabakarry Jawara, a sub-police inspector.

Mr Jatta is currently stationed at the Farrafenni Barracks in North Bank Region, and he first testified before the court last week.

Testifying today, Mr Jatta told the court that Sanna relayed to him that the coup was going to take place in December 2022 or January 2023 latest.

Jatta further told the court about Lance Corporal Fadera’s plans had the coup succeeded: “He said that he went to one Marabout in Mali, who is doing what we call in our local language ‘Khalwa’. When the Marabout finishes and gives them the go-ahead, then the coup will be launched. He also stated that they had one year transition period.”

He continued: “In my own understanding, if a marabout is doing ‘Khalwa’, he goes inside a room without coming outside for days or weeks. That is what I can understand.”

The witness also stated in response to why he was using third person plural “they” and not “we”, saying: “I knew I was not going to be part of it, because this is something illegal.

“I reported to the higher authorities. I reported on 12 December. It was after the meeting, when he came to my house in Farafenni.”

Sergeant Jatta also explained to the court that a section consists of 9 to 10 soldiers maximum, while a platoon has over 30 men.

“Also, during the course of your testimony, you said you made a telephone conversation between you and 1st accused Sanna Fadera? Can you remember the number you used?” asked state prosecutor A.M. Yusuf.

The army sergeant said he could remember. On the numbers used by accused Sana Fadera to call him (the witness), Jatta said he could not remember the numbers exactly. He, nonetheless, maintained that they were two different Africell lines.

The court heard from the witness that his mobile phone was left with the investigators, following the thwarting of the coup plot.

A series of exhibits were borrowed from the court by the prosecution, which were handed to the witness. The witness affirmed seeing the numbers on a number of pages of the exhibits.

Asked about a purported operational plan he had earlier alleged to have been shown by Sanna Fadera, the witness said he could identify it. The document (exhibit P11) was borrowed by the prosecution and placed before the witness.

He affirmed that the document was the one shown to him by accused person Sanna Fadera in Farafenni: “It is the exact copy. The heading and the operations are all the same.”

The prosecution also sought to borrow exhibit P11, the witness’s mobile phone that he had claimed was used to take pictures of the purported operational plan.

The witness also identified the mobile phone before the court as his, which he eventually switched on and showed the court pictures of the purported operational plan

The case was adjourned till Thursday at 1 pm.

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