Marabout testifies in foiled coup trial
Yaya Manjang, an Islamic scholar and marabout from Busra on Thursday testified in the foiled coup trial proceeding before Justice Basiru Mahoney of the High Court of The Gambia.
The five accused persons in the criminal trial – Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, Sergeant Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sannoh, Corporal Omar Njie and Police Sub-inspector Fabakary Jawara – are facing criminal charges on treason, concealment of treason and incitement to mutiny.
Testifying before the crowded court yesterday, the witness told the court that he recognised one of the accused persons, Fabakarry Jawara, whom he identified before the court.
He told the court that in the month of November, one Mustapha came with Fabakarry to seek some prayers from him, adding that Fabakarry told him to do ‘Listiharr’ for them as his brother or so, Sana, wanted to carry out a coup.
Mr Manjang told the court that he later asked them to give out charity with some items, such as cola nut and bitter cola.
“Later on, the same Fabakarry came with Sana, and I told them that if coup is what they wanted, then they should go to Mauritania, Casamance or Guinea,” the witness said.
However, he noted that he later travelled to Senegal due to some other personal reasons, and sometime later after his return, he heard of or realised about the issue of a coup plot from the social media.
Mr Manjang added that one week later, the police came for him and he was arrested. “That was on a Friday night. I was taken to the Brikama Police Station. I was questioned and then taken to the Banjulinding Anti-Crime Unit. There I was detained from Friday night to Monday morning, when I was taken to the NIA. There I was questioned and later released on bail,” he said.
Further, the witness said that he only recognised Fabakarry but did not recognise Sana, adding that when Sanna went to his house he never even spent 20 minutes there.
Under cross-examination by lawyer L.S. Camara, the witness told the court that upon his initial release, he has been reporting to the Police Headquarters in Banjul and Brikama Police, noting however that he had forgotten the last time he went to report.
Quizzed as to when he allegedly met Fabakarry Jawara, he said three times but could not remember the exact days. “However, the first one was afternoon and the second and third were at night. On his first and second visits, he came with Mustapha Jarjue and on his third with Sana,” he said.
He testified that a statement was written by the police on his behalf and read to him, which he later signed.
The statement was shown to the witness, which he confirmed, and was eventually exhibited and admitted as evidence.
“I am putting it to you, Mr Manjang, that Fabakarry never sought your intervention in furtherance of a coup,” Defence Counsel Camara said.
“Fabakarry did not tell me he wanted to carry out coup but he told me that it was Sana that wanted to,” he maintained.
The defence counsel also put to the witness that he couldn’t remember the dates of the visits because it never happened. The witness countered the visits indeed took place and that his forgetfulness was due to his unstable mind, as he was taking care of certain issues.
“Because your mind wasn’t stable at the time, you must have mixed up who said what and what to you,” counsel again put it to the witness, who insisted that he indeed knew who spoke to him.
The witness was later briefly cross-examined by Lawyer Y. Darboe before the matter was adjourned till 21 February 2023 at 1pm.
Source: The Point