By Journalist Gheran Senghore
With all due respect Mr. Sabally, you should be the last person to give an account of what happened on November 11th. It was you who gave the order and actively paticipated in the execution of your fellow officers. Most of who died without knowing what they were being killed  for. You have no account to give, you murdered Gambian soldiers without putting them before a court of law. I was lucky to have covered the trial of Lt’s. Jammeh, Jarjue and Sgt Bah who narrated what happened on that night to the court.

What these men said in court was so horrible that the then director of public prosecution, Justice Akamba appealed to the then Justice Yahya that the media be barred from publishing anything that was said in court. Ebrima Sillah, D.A Jawo and my self were later ordered before Justice Yahya and almost got sent to prison because we hinted The Gambian public about what was said in court that that. You should be ashamed of yourself for calling yourself a soldier, you were never a soldier and you will never be a soldier.

A soldier has honor, intergrity and respect, these are qualities that you do not have. What goes around comes around Sanna Sabally, the 9 years you have spent in prison is just the begining. Gheran

By Binneh Minteh



Looking back on the history of the brutal regime of President Yaya Jammeh, the greatest surprise for me was that his regime has done very little towards unfolding the truth behind crimes committed under the  umbrella of the ruling AFPRC/APRC(the State). This is so because the conditions for a major effort in that direction, has always been false and fake. Apart from branding the late Deyda Hydara (murdered journalist) as having been responsible for his own death, it is no surprise to see a fake character not only hiding behind the keyboard, but also branding murdered officers of the November 11th 1994 summary executions as “bandits” responsible for their own deaths. The English definition of a bandit is “an armed thief who is a member of a group”. Was it the November 11th executed officers or members of the APRC who were the bandits? Was it Bassiru Barrow who robbed our central bank and stole millions or the AFPRC/APRC (the State)? Was it Lieutenant Bassiru Barrow and his group who forcefully seized property from innocent citizens? Why are you hiding your identity? Gambians and friends of the Gambia should therefore judge for themselves, as to who the real bandits are.  Was it Bassiru Barrow/ co or the AFPRC?

Analogies and nomenclatures from the article titled “NOVEMBER 11th 1994 WAS DANGEROUS AND SUICIDAL” are of course deceptive as the sense and feeling of guilt tend to circumscribe the whole purpose of its message. How could Lieutenant Barrow and his colleagues be responsible for their own deaths? Why did Peter Singhateh, former vice chairman Sana sabally, and former SOS Sadibou Hydara lead a platoon of soldiers looking for Lieutenant Binneh s Minteh in Bakau Katchikally? Would I not be history now? The author was better off keeping mute than trying to defend the indefensible. Bassiru Barrow and other executed officers were responsible Gambian citizens who had no evil intention after all. They were known to be peace loving, and caring, and their “legacies are so rich that it shall live on forever”. They are only true sons of The Gambia silenced by the myth of evil citizens.

The danger in responding to specific criticism is always loosing sight of the forest. However I am confident to be on track and intact unlike cowards. Confidently, one could ascertain that critics in the aforementioned article betrays “reflexive hostility and poverty of imagination”- a defensive attachment to a liberal internationalist agenda that champions major goals either as ends in themselves or as the only means to achieve their goals. Again this backdrop is worth returning to a question posed at the beginning of the article: Why hiding your identity? Why not be a man and take responsibility as the former NO 2 AFPRC big wig did?

The article deriding the late Bassiru Barrow (May his soul rest in peace) constitutes only a corollary of disaggregating, and a manifestation of contempt by one calling himself a body guard. As a unitary actor, the author does not seem to be doing any good to the AFPRC/APRC (the State). The data has only proven that summary executions were indeed carried out by the state as the main actor. Under International law it could be argued that the November 11th 1994 summary executions constitute both the crime of genocide and torture. Article 6 of the Rome Statue defines genocide as follows
“For the purpose of this Statute, “genocide” means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a)     Killing members of the group;
(b)     Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c)     Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d)     Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e)     Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
In all honesty the AFPRC (the State carried out “extra-judicial killings”, “caused serious bodily harm”, and “inflicted conditions that brought physical destruction in whole and part” on or shortly after November 11th 1994. It can therefore be no longer doubted that the jus-cogen nature of the crime committed on November 11th 1994 could hold individuals within the AFPRC (the State) responsible. Some of them may currently enjoy “jurisdictional immunity”, but not deterrence, from “individual responsibility” for such a serious international crime. Torture was also an international crime committed by the AFPRC (the State) on that sad day. That I would however argue on a later day.
In our quest to make The Gambia a better place for future generations, we need to be productive than destructive. All military officers “are good and war-seasoned officers of State”. We are all trained to lead and command in defending the ideals of our nation. Lieutenant Bassiru Barrow and all his executed comrades fall under such officers of the Gambia National Army. One therefore need not make much noise on the gallantry of the AFPRC as that does not make any sense in that direction. Gallantry should only be attributed to military officers in real combat situations in time of war. Actions of the AFPRC (the State) on that sad day are neither gallantry, nor does it constitute self-defense.

In International law, the exercise of the right of “collective self-defense” presupposes that an armed attack has occurred, and it is evident that the victim or victims are directly aware of that fact. However in the case of November 11th 1994, there was no evidence that the conduct and activities of the AFPRC (the state) were allegedly justified by the notion of collective self-defense. “A critical question affecting both law and policy on self-defense concerns the degree of uncertainty or in determinacy that inheres in the proclaimed”. “Some indeterminacy results from the key standards of necessity and proportionality, concepts that leave ample room for diverse opinions in particular cases.” (Schachter et al). To my dearest Gambian brothers, sisters, and friends of the Gambia, there was no such armed attack when Lieutenant Bassiru Barrow and his colleagues were arrested. Actions of the AFPRC (the state) were thus not proportional, a key characteristic in the notion of collective self defense in both national and international law.

International law has further proven that “Notwithstanding its relative indeterminacy, self-defense as a legal norm can have an ascertainable relationship to the policies and actions of states. The “defensist” principle namely, that self defense is the only legitimate reason to use force against citizens has been expressed as the strategic policy of most States.” (Smit et al). Evidence for this has been found in governmental statements to many international bodies. “When states proclaim the principle of self-defense as governing the use of force, they have a stake in its credibility to other states and their own citizens.” (Henken et al). Actions of the AFPRC (the State) on the sad day of November 11th 1994 cannot be purported as self-defensive but could be perceived as offensive which may be troubling and become a central concern within a legal framework.

Events on November 11th 1994 were therefore neither “dangerous nor suicidal” as claimed in a recent article. Interpretations in the article are not only bifurcated, but lack substance. The argument that the State acted in national interest could not be justified. Instead of bringing the arrested officers before the courts, the power driven and blood thirsty inexperienced council members hastily proceeded with extra-judicial killings. That was the point where the AFPRC (the State) got it all wrong. Although they succeeded in brutally murdering Lieutenant Bassiru Barrow and group (May their souls rest in Peace), let us wait to see what the future holds for AFPRC council members.


Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2006 (Archive on Sunday, December 31, 2006)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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