Edward Singhatey, a former vice-chairperson of the defunct AFPRC Government has today appeared before the TRRC voluntarily for the first time.
Singhatey is the third (3rd) member of the defunct junta (AFPRC) government to appear before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). Sanna Sabally and Yankuba Touray have both appeared before the Commission but Touray declined to give testimony relying on his Constitutional immunity in the 1997 Constitution that happenings between the years 1994 to 1996 cannot be a subject of investigation or litigation.
The retired captain together with former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, ex-Captain Sanna B. Sabally, ex-Captain Sadibou Hydara and ex-Captain Yankuba Touray formed a military government after toppling the PPP's self-perpetuated government in a military coup in July 1994.
Former President Jammeh was made the chairman of the established Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) and Sanna B. Sabally as the vice-chairman while Singhatey and others held ministerial posts. Six months after the coup, Singhatey acceded to the position of the vice-chairman after the arrest of Sanna Sabally by their Government with the allegation of attempting to kill former President Jammeh.
Singhatey was the Minister of Defense before assuming the position as the vice chairman under their junta government. Singhatey also served under the APRC Government for years as a Minister before falling out with former President Jammeh who decided to dismiss him from his position.
Their government came through the gun and ended the PPP self-perpetuated rule with the allegations that it was a corrupt government. Their Government ruled the Gambia by decrees and suspended the 1970 Republican Constitution.
After establishing themselves, as a government, Singhatey's government was also involved in several human rights violations such as unlawful arrest and detention, torture, the murder of both civilians and members of the Gambia National Army, among other crimes.
Singhatey together with all his colleague junta members including former President Jammeh has been alleged by several witnesses to have participated in human rights violations such as the arrest and torture of civilians at the Fajara Barracks including former cabinet ministers of the defunct PPP government. They are alleged to have executed several soldiers on the 11thNovember 1994 at the Fajara Barracks, Yundum Barracks and the Lance Corporal Bojang's Range in Brikama. The executed soldiers include Lieutenants Gibril Saye, Basirou Barrow and Abdoulie 'Dot' Faal, Sergeants Fafa Nyang and Basirou Camara, Cadet Amadou Sillah, Buba Jammeh among others. Testimonies have it that over 20 soldiers were executed by the military government under the chairmanship of retired Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh.
Singhatey, Yankuba Touray and Peter Singhatey are alleged to have participated and spearheaded the killing of Ousman Koro Ceesay, a former Secretary of State for Finance sometime in June 1994.
Witnesses' testimony suggested that Koro Ceesay was killed at the residence of Yankuba Touray in Kerr Sering but after he was assassinated, the scenario was cover-up as if he had died as a resulted of an accident around Jambur.
Singhatey has a lot to answer today as he face-off with the TRRC which is a Commission established by an Act of the National Assembly to dig into past human rights violations by their government.
Foroyaa will provide you with the details of the testimony of Singhatey.