By Patience Loum, Banjul, The Gambia – Thursday November 21, 2019.
Public hearings at the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission continues at Jambur as three women termed witches detailed incidences where they were stripped naked by the then green Boys, youth group supporters of ex-President Yaya Jammeh of the Gambia.
In 2009, former President Yahya Jammeh launched a so-called witch hunt campaign after hiring a band of witch doctors guarded by soldiers armed with AK47. The ritualists targeted the poor farming communities and public offices.
Lamarana Jallow, Sukai Jallow and Fatou Sowe were among dozens victimized during Jammeh’s 2009 witch hunt. One of the accused stated that she was stripped naked by a young man who was old enough to be her grandson. She said the young man poured water on her and robbed it all over her naked body and she could not do anything about it.
One of the captives, Lamaran Jallow said she was in her house cooking during which the green boys stormed into her house and dragged her off to a green bus. “Some of them were beaten to drink the concoction and the concoction was pounded mixed with water, and what the man advised us was anyone who drank water after drinking the concoction will die but I was unconscious and I was unconscious until in the morning around 10:00am,” Jallow told the TRRC.
“They bundled us in a bus and drove us off to Kololi and when we arrived at the compound they gave us groundnut past and rice and meat (local delicacy) to eat and asked some people to drink concoction. But what they first ordered everybody to hand over their properties ranging from mobile phones and money, and I they took 700 dalasi to them.”, the statement continued.
“They will hold your hand and give the concoction to drink and they will come for another person, and some people felt down and went unconscious after drinking the concoction. Their hands were held by people wearing green-green attire, and anytime they drink the concoction they would felt on the ground,” she added.
Sukai Jallow recalled seeing people looking dead while others went unconscious after drinking the concoction and ‘I was feeling dizzy and I felt asleep till the next morning. The concoction was bitter because the water mixed with it was not much and I drank a cup and a half cup of it.’
“A boy from the green-green boys came to me and asked me from last year to this year how many people have you eaten and I replied to him that I had never eaten human being because I am an elderly woman and is only you who accused me of being a witch, I really don’t know why they pointed finger to me and accused me of a witch,” she said
Fatou Sowe, another one of the captives explained that; “The concoction caused me high blood pressure. We were many because if my memory serves me, we were about fifty people, and when we were forced to drink the concoction around 5:00pm we all went asleep until the next morning.”