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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Witch-hunt victims relive stories of horror

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By Mariama Jallow

Survivors of former president Jammeh’s witch-hunt campaign have been reliving the horror they went through.

Captured in a detailed report that covers some of the heinous crimes of the Jammeh era, the witch-hunt survivors recalled moments they were instructed to undress and forced to drink concoctions.

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One of them, Sainey Bojang, said she was forcefully taken out of her house by people dressed in red. Bojang, along with others, were then whisked into a white vehicle parked by the roadside, packed with other people.

“I could hear people shouting they [the ones in the vehicle] are witches,” she said.

The detailed stories are documented in a report released by the victims centre and Amnesty International Monday.

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Sainey Bojang relived her experience of some of the events of 2009: “When we reached Kololi, we were put in a house and forced to sit on the floor, people urinated and defecated on themselves as there were no toilets provided. I was called and asked to completely undress, and one man poured a concoction on my body and forced me to drink it. I don’t remember what happened after that, but I was extremely sick by the time I got home with stomach pains and diarrhea.”

Today, Sainey lives in a village in The Gambia however, she is forced to face “persistent stigma” of being a witch-hunt victim. Sainey said she has also lost her job.

Another survivor Babucarr Sidi, said: “There were people dressed in charms [suspected to be marabouts] accompanied by military officers and youth militants of the APRC”.

Babucarr was also forced to take the concoction which he described as “a large container filled with a black colored liquid”. Shortly after, he started to hallucinate, vomit and caught diarrhea.

Fabakary Manneh said “the witch hunters had visited a graveyard and slaughtered a goat to offer a sacrifice”.

The victims called on the government to distribute their reparations, as recommended by the TRRC.

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