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GAMBIA-L  January 2004

GAMBIA-L January 2004

Subject:

Sabally: I have forgiven and forgotten

From:

Sanusi Owens <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The Gambia and related-issues mailing list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 27 Jan 2004 14:34:39 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (155 lines)

Sana Sabally, the former vice chairman of the Armed
Forces Provisional Ruling Council, AFPRC, yesterday
walked out of the Mile 2 Central Prisons east gate at
10:58hrs a free man after serving a nine-year sentence
for treason.

Speaking to Daily Observer at the gate of the prison,
the former Army captain who has gained some pounds,
sporting a clean shave, dressed in jeans and russet
coloured T-shirt, said his freedom was “a work of God.
I thank God, the Almighty for everything He has done
for me. I forgive and forget everybody for what had
happened. Let the past be the past. I don’t want to
even talk about what has happened. It is not important
to even talk about the past.”

Speaking from behind his hallmark shades, Sana Sabally
said, “I called on all Gambians to work towards the
progress of the country. The Gambia belongs to
everybody. I am happy that God has answered our
prayers. I have come out of the prisons in hale and
hearty. I regretted nothing. I am not even worried
about the incarceration for the love of our dear
country. I have decided to forget, forgive and
overlook everything with kindness, prayers and good
will. And Allah knows best what is in my heart. I take
everything in good faith for it all come from the
Almighty Allah, the Supreme Ruler of the heavens and
the earth. My reaction is, I have since forgotten
everything. So, Allah help me. I will not, and will
never allow a dark past to cloud a brighter future,”
Captain Sabally said.

He then quoted verses 26 and 27 of the Qur’anic
chapter Ali Imran (the Family of Imran) which state,
“Say, O Allah, Owner of sovereignty, You give
sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty
away from whom You will. You honour whom You will and
You humble whom You will. In Your hand is (all) good.
Indeed, You are over all things competent.

You cause the night to enter the day, and You cause
the day to enter the night, and You bring the living
out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the
living. And You give provision to whom You will
without limit or measure.”
Sabally, who must have dedicated the long months of
his incarceration to studying the scriptures, also
quoted from verses 22 and 23 of surah al-Hadeed (The
Iron) which state, “No disaster strikes upon the earth
or among yourselves except that it is in a register
before We bring it into being, indeed that, for Allah,
is easy.”
He also quoted verse 51 of surah Tawba (Repentance)
which state, “Never will We be struck except by what
Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector. And
upon Allah let the believers rely,”

He then quoted verse 56 of surah Hud which state,
“Indeed, I have relied upon Allah, my Lord and your
Lord. There is no creature but that He holds its
forelock (ie, control it). Indeed, my Lord is on a
path that is straight...
Captain Sabally then referred to the book of
Ecclesiastes, verse 1, chapter 3 which states, “To
everything there is a season, and a time to every
purpose under the heaven.” He further quoted verses 8
and 9, chapter 7 of Ecclesiastes which state, “Better
is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof and
the patient in spirit is better than the proud in
spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry for
anger reseth in the bosom of fools.”

After these marathon quotations from the scriptures,
Captain Sabally joined his wife in the back of the red
mini Ford belonging to his friend, Saikou B Jarju of
Gamstar and drove away to his wife’s home in Bakoteh
before proceeding to his family home in Brikama. He
was received at the prison gate by members of his
close family.


Sabally (seated right) with Chairman Jammeh, Touray,
Singhatey, Haidara during the early days
Captain Sabally, together with fellow AFPRC member
Sadibou Haidara were arrested on Friday, January 27,
1995 inside State House, put on board a green
Mitsubishi pick-up and taken to Mile 2 prisons.

That evening, the Government released a press
statement explaining that Sabally and Haidara, on that
Friday morning forced their way into the office of
Chairman Jammeh in an attempt to seize power “but the
attempt was foiled and the captains as well as the men
who accompanied them were arrested and put into
custody.”

According to the statement, the two captains had
opposed the recommendations for an earlier handover to
civilian rule and consequently their attempt to seize
power was the direct result of the two men’s
opposition to the progress being made towards civilian
rule in accordance with Council’s programme and
timetable, particularly the appointment and work of
the National Consultative Committee, NCC.

The NCC which was set up to review the AFRPC’s
timetable had recommended that the AFPRC return power
after 24 months from July 22, 1994, and that Council
should also consider appointing an interim government
headed by a civilian prime minister, with Captain
Jammeh remaining as head of state.
But when the content of the NCC report became known to
the two captains, they vowed to get rid of some
unspecified people, the statement said.

According to the statement, “It was against this
background that the two captains armed with pistols,
attempted to kill Chairman Jammeh, but were
neutralised,” the statement said.
Captain Sabally and Haidara were then dismissed from
the Council and from their cabinet posts and court
martialled.
Captain Haidara died in prison in March 1995, two
months after their detention, officially due to high
blood pressure.

The court martial found Captain Sabally guilty of
treason a year later and he was duly sentenced.
However, those who visited him or kept correspondence
with him during his years of imprisonment said he has
undergone a spiritual and mental rebirth and was of
flawless character and outward disposition.

© Copyright 2003 by Observer Company





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