By Mafugi Ceesay
Imam Baba Leigh has told the TRRC that the former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh just hated him based on no reasons.
Imam Leigh said his first encounter with Jammeh came shortly after a sermon he delivered criticising government on millions of dalasis spent on Futanpaf, a festival Jammeh organised, and as a result he received numerous private number calls from individuals, one of whom advised him to leave the country but he refused.
He said his last arrest and long detention at the NIA came after he issued a press release against Jammeh’s killing of 9 Mile II inmates.
“I was undressed, naked and beaten severely, by masked men at the NIA. They only stopped torturing when I came close to passing out. I only came to know about the people who tortured me after the testimony of Omar Jallow alias Oya who he is one of the people who tortured me at the NIA,” Leigh said.
He continued: “I did not get any medical treatment for the wounds on my back and legs and they continued to beat me and poured cold water on me for six days. They also forced me to fabricate story against OJ, Kebba Touray, the American Embassy. They said I should say that they are the ones who instigated me to do what I did. But I refused, so the following morning I was taken to one Sukuta who asked me why I was arrested. But after reading my sermon on the papers, he said Jammeh was misled. I was tortured for 9 days under the supervision of Bakary Beyai, James Gomez, Sanna Saidykhan and Haruna Suso. On the the ninth day, I was taken to bulldozer for more torture.”
He said one day they forced him into a ditch and covered his body up to the neck for two hours before being taken to ‘bambadinka’.
Leigh further alleged that it was Imam Abdoulie Fatty who spoiled his relationship with Yahya Jammeh, which made Jammeh to believe that he [Baba Leigh] was under the influence of the West to campaign for the banning of FGM.
“Fatty used to call me, telling me to fear Allah and stop advocating against FGM, as well as accusing me of collecting money from the West and that if I use such money, I will go to hell,” Leigh alleged.
He said since then, he received lots of attacks from Yahya Jammeh who threatened that if he ever laid his hands on him, even his graveyard would not be found.