• Sainey Darboe, Editor-in-chief

Ballo Kanteh details how a life of suffering and failure in Liberia pushed him to plan coup

Former Gambian rebel commander for Charles Taylor in Liberia, Ballo Kanteh, has opened the lid on his life of suffering, failure and penury that forced him to take part in a coup attempt in 1996.

Ballo Kanteh and his men attacked Farafeni army camp in a botched coup attempt in 1996

“I used to be in the bush for up to three months sometimes. Liberia is big and I was in charge of my own area. When I was in Liberia, I had 1,000 to 1,500 people under my command. I had 18 bodyguards but they were all women because I could not trust men. I had a wife in town and I used to for see her once in awhile with my body guards.


But when Kukoi brought us to Senegal and left us there we had no money. We had no jobs or source of income. We were suffering. We were broke. We had nothing. Senegalese military arrested some members of our group and Jammeh didn’t want us to go back to our own country”.

Ballo further revealed that he sneaked back into The Gambia to meet his family who thought him dead after not hearing from him for many years.

“We had no money. We had nothing. I had lie to them I brought three cars and needed money to get them from the port. I took the money and went to Kaolack to plan to attack with my allies. We spent many years away and we had no money and missed our home yet we were no allowed to come back. We didn’t want a rebellion in The Gambia that’s also the reason Kukoi told us we needed to remove Jammeh”.



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