By Ousman A. Marong
A Gambian mercenary who fought in the Liberian civil war on the side of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) led by former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, on Wednesday disclosed how he and a group of other Gambian rebels were recruited by Kukoi Samba Sanyang to attack the Farafenni army camp in 1997 with the objective of toppling former President Yahya Jammeh.
Appearing before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) Mballo Kanteh said their activities were sponsored by Kukoi Samba Sanyang. “He facilitated our trip to Senegal. He gave us fare and we departed from Liberia to Senegal, issued us with hunting guns and made us to believe that President Abdou Diouf of Senegal had promised to help us depose President Jammeh,” he remarked.
Kanteh narrated how their mission through Senegal ran into trouble when the Senegalese authorities not only refused them permission to enter the Gambia through Senegal but began arresting some of his colleagues.
Kanteh then went on to explain how they managed to sneak into the Gambia and how they later regrouped to attack the Farafenni barracks. He said when they reached the Farafenni army camp, they met two soldiers on guard at the sentry post.
“We scared them and they ran away leaving their guns behind. We collected their guns and entered the camp and opened fire. They were shooting back at us with mortars in the dark and a bullet struck me in the leg,” he said, adding that their intention was to move to Banjul to take over the State House.
He however said while they were on their way from the Farafenni camp, they met with a lorry carrying soldiers led by Peter Singhateh and after a brief skirmish, he and his colleagues ran in different directions but they were subsequently arrested and taken to Banjul.