Gambia: Soldier Found Dead At A Madiana Well Uses Fake Papers To Join The Army? Army Spokesman Sanyang Weighs In!

Controversy greets the death of a Gambian soldier, who was found dead in a well in the village of Madiana on Wednesday, amid conflicting reports about the real identity of the demised soldier. The soldier in question was enlisted into the Gambia Armed Forces with the name Baboucarr MS Bah. RELIABLE AND DEPENDABLE sources have told the FREEDOM NEWSPAPER that the deceased’s actual birth name is Sheriffo Kujabi and not Baboucarr MS Bah, as reported by the Army Command. The late Mr. Kujabi must have joined the army with fake aliases or stolen identification. For more on the story, we contacted the Army Spokesman Major Lamin K Sanyang and this is what he has to say: “ Well for now, that is not part of the investigations we are conducting at the moment. We are trying to establish the cause of his death for now; verifying whether he is Baboucarr or Sheriffo, that’s a totally different ballgame for us. At the moment, what we are preoccupied with is unraveling what led to his untimely demise and being dumped in a well in Madiana.

The Army spokesman said one cannot completely rule out the possibility of folks joining the army with fake credentials, but he was quick to point out that GAF’s vetting standards for aspiring recruits was next to none.

“That’s what I am saying. As far as our records show, he is Baboucarr MS Bah. So, if the possibilities of having those kinds of instances we cannot rule them out. But we have not come across those kinds of instances that go to show indicate that people come here with false pretense. However, if any of those incidences come up; we have our due process; standing operational procedures that are put in place to deal with those kinds of situations. For the case of Baboucarr MS Bah, as far as we know, he might have had some other names, but from our records when the case came up, we were able to identify him as Baboucarr MS Bah,” PRO Sanyang told Freedom Radio Gambia in an interview on Friday.

Below is a brief transcribed version of the Q and A interview we had with the army PRO. Tune in to Freedom Radio for the rest of the interview.

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FN: I am calling you in regards to the incident in Madiana. What actually happened?

Well, as we speak, a soldier of the Gambia Armed Forces by the name corporal Baboucarr MS Bah, who was on sick leave and was at Yundum Barracks I BM; his remains were found in a well at Madiana on Wednesday. So, the body has been recovered and taken to the RVTH mortuary and we have begun the investigations to unravel the circumstances surrounding the death.

FN: And Major Sanyang do you suspect foul play in the death of Mr. Bah?

Well, we do not want to preempt the investigations. Like I said, we have started the investigations; so, once we are done with whatever investigations we are conducting at the moment, we will be able to brief the public about our findings. So, for now, it would too early to speculate on what might have led to his death.

FN: We are receiving mixed reports here; conflicting reports. The soldier has been identified as Babocuarr Bah, as you rightly stated, but in some quarters,  he is being identified as Baboucarr Kujabi.

I can tell you for a fact that the corpse we have identified from that well being a member of the Gambia Armed Forces; and from our records he goes with the name Baboucarr MS Bah.

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FN: And where is the Sheriffo Kujabi name coming from?

Well.. You said you have your sources; probably is from those sources. But as far as our records go, for the Gambia Armed Forces, we know him as Baboucarr MS Bah.

FN: And Major Sanyang is it possible that some people joined the army by using fake papers; using people’s IDS; is that a possibility?

Well that’s totally a different ballgame. Anything is possible. But what I can tell you for a fact is that the Gambia Armed Forces, we recruit men into our ranks by their presentation of their valid national document ranging from birth certificate, national ID Cards, and even up to Alkalo and Chief attestation. So, those are documents we based on, and those are authentic as far as we know because they are from legal government authorities. So, if anybody comes and there is a recruitment with valid documents that can be authenticated, and it is authentic, we have no course but to take you. Of course, we have own our internal security scrutiny bodies; like the police CRO, the National Intelligence agency all those bodies scrutinize their papers. So, once everything is done and you are found credible with everything, we take you onboard. So, the authenticity it behooves on the individual coming forward to present himself for recruitment.

FN: Mr. Sanyang, is it possible that there are certain members of the armed forces who joined the force through false pretense because as we speak, the demised soldier is being identified as Sheriffo Kujabi, and not Baboucarr Bah as reported by the army?

That’s what I am saying. As far as our records show he is Baboucarr MS Bah. So, if the possibilities of having those kinds of instances we cannot rule them out. But we have not come across those kinds of instances that go to show indicate that people come here with false pretense. However, if any of those incidences come up; we have our due process; standing operational procedures that are put in place to deal with those kinds of situations. For the case of Baboucarr MS Bah, as far as we know, he might have had some other names, but from our records when the case came up, we were able to identify him as Baboucarr MS Bah.

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FN: Is the army command going to investigate whether he uses someone’s identification to join the army?

Well for now, that is not part of the investigations we are conducting at the moment. We are trying to establish the cause of his death for now; verifying whether he is Baboucarr or Sheriffo, that’s a totally different ballgame for us. At the moment, what we are preoccupied with is unravelling what led to his untimely demise and being dumped in a well in Madiana.

FN: Is it true that the late Mr. Bah, known as Sheriffo Kujabi had a history of mental health issues?

It would be difficult for me to ascertain that. All that I can say is that he was on sick leave off late until his untimely demise. Medical issues for the Gambia Armed Forces; those are private and confidential matters and not up for public scrutiny or discussions. So, all that we can say is that he was sick leave; the nature and circumstances of illness, I don’t think it is professional for me to divulge for the consumption of the general public.

Transcribed and interviewed By Pa Nderry M’Bai

From: Freedom Newspaper

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