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Sana Bairo Sabally

Sana Bairo Sabally




Sana Bairo Sabally is a former captain in the Gambia National Army and a significant figure in Gambia's political and military history. Born in February 1965 in Kassakunda, a village in the West Coast Region of Gambia, Sabally's early life was marked by his education and rise through the ranks of the military.

Sabally attended primary and part of secondary school in Brikama before earning a scholarship to Armitage School, where he completed his education. After working briefly in a local supermarket, he joined the Gambia National Army (GNA) following in the footsteps of his older brother. He quickly ascended through the ranks, becoming a platoon commander and later a captain in November 1994.

Sabally played a central role in the bloodless coup of July 22, 1994, which brought the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) to power. Following the coup, he was appointed as the deputy chairman of the AFPRC and played a key role in suppressing a subsequent coup attempt in November 1994.

However, his relationship with the new government was short-lived. In January 1995, Sabally was arrested alongside Sadibou Hydara, accused of threatening to kill President Yahya Jammeh and plotting to delay the transition to civilian rule. Sabally was discharged from the army, court-martialed in September 1995, and sentenced to nine years in prison.

After his release in January 2004, Sabally relocated to Dakar but remained connected to Gambia. He accused the Jammeh government of attempting to assassinate him in 2006.

In 2019, Sabally's role in Gambia's history was revisited when he testified before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), which was established to investigate the human rights abuses committed under Jammeh's regime. Sabally's testimony was notable for its honesty, providing insight into his actions and experiences during his time in the military junta.

Sabally's testimony before the TRRC was notable for its candor and honesty. His willingness to confront the truth earned him recognition from many Gambians, highlighting the strength and courage required to acknowledge past mistakes and seek reconciliation.


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