This Date, 20 Years Ago, AFPRC VC Sana B Sabally was Arrested.

Sana Sabally of the Military Junta arrested
Cap. Sana B Sabally, Vice Chairman of Junta

Encounter with the past: In Our today’s encounter, we look at one Sabally’s Fall from Grace to Grass

Before the dust settled on Friday January 27th 1995, a panic frenzy had gripped most of the tiny country of the Gambia. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a little after 11am local time. I was in the town of Brikama with couple of friends brewing Green tea when some women came running claiming the Brikama market was deserted, and there is war in Banjul. We abandon the “Attaya” as everyone fled. The faster i ran, the slower i seem to be progressing. Something was definitely slowing my progress. I got family members in Banjul at that material time. I can’t continue to run when their fate was still unknown. So i decided to proceed to a safe location where i join other friends to monitor the situation in Banjul and access our next move. I was in deep turmoil. I needed to know how my family members were doing. It would take long excruciating hours before the government would release the news over the radio about what had happened in Banjul on that day.

According to the Government statement about the events of that Friday morning, Vice Chairman of the Armed Forces Provincial Ruling Council was under arrest. That was stunning. Mighty Sabally has fallen. The Statement claim that VC Sabally reportedly armed when he entered the Office of the President or the Chairman armed, with the intention of staging a palace coup by shooting the Chairman and declaring himself the Chairman of the ruling Council. The report went on to say that VC Sabally had disagreed with fellow council members about the provisional time table to civilian rule. That since he failed to change the minds of the entire council, he resorted to an illegal act to forestall the presentation of National Consultative Committee’s recommendation for the return to civilian rule. Sabally and Hydara a fellow council member would go on to spend nine years in jail for the alleged coup. His alleged co conspirator, Sadibu Hydara died in prison. Sabally meanwhile is now living a pious religious life in Germany.

Today, looking back at that fateful day, my guts tell me that everything Jammeh told us that day about Sabally was false. I did not think Sabally was opposed to a short time table as Jammeh alleged, for if that had been the case, Jammeh should not have cling on to power for 20 years himself. Sabally never gain any sympathy because of the widespread atrocities he perpetrated on the population.

By Pierre Gomez

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