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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Witch-hunt victims relive stories of horror

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.

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.

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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