By Tabora Bojang
A former member of the Gambia Police Force Mustapha Ceesay yesterday alleged before the TRRC that the so-called witch-hunt exercise ordered by the exiled former president Yahya Jammeh was a show of experiment to convince his South American drug counterparts that The Gambia has a raw material that could be used for cocaine and heroin.
Ceesay, one of the officers accused of witchcraft by the sorcerers at a police parade in Banjul, claimed that the former president was complicit in a drug trade with South American cartels who resort to the West African coast as a transit point for drugs to lucrative drug markets in Europe.
“They were using the names of witches as a cover up,” Ceesay told the commission. “We understand that cocaine and heroin were produced from a poppy either from Afghanistan or somewhere else, and due to his involvement with the South Americans Jammeh wanted to prove to them that Gambia had something that was more effective for drugs than poppy”.
He said this was why the sorcerers were using a local herb called Kubejara to sample the effect it would have on the people identified as witches because Jammeh was “trying to see if the Kubejara could be used as a drug as well”
Asked how he got privy to the allegation, Ceesay said he got this information around 2010 when he was working with the British High Commission at the time when the British Special Agents came to the Gambia after discovery of two tons of cocaine in Kombo East.
Ceesay, who is in exile in the US, said as a result of his failure to comply with orders of his IGP to follow the “witch doctors” to Baba Jobe’s compound, he was charged, demoted and moved from the Police headquarters to Fatoto before eventually departing the police force.
Ceesay is now pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
He said about 40 police officers were identified as witches during the raid on the Police Headquarters.
He added the men were asked to join a truck and were taken to Baba Jobe’s compound and forced to drink the hallucinogenic concoction (Kubejara) leading some to lose consciousness and body weights.
He described the exercise as a cruel and vicious satanic act that brought humiliation, abuse, and continuous stigmatisation for him and his colleagues in the force.
“The impact that this had on my family is not measurable. My mother has been living in pain since that day to date having left her home alone. The entire family had been crying not only because of my absence but also because of the continuous stigmatisation we suffered of being associated and labelled as witches,” Ceesay said.
“We are from a noble family and for me to be associated with anything ungodly is stigmatising, as being a witch is unforgivable. I have forgiven Essa Badgie but not Yahya Jammeh because he forced so many people to swear by an idol just for him to be president.”