By Mafugi Ceesay
Karamo Sanneh, a survivor of the 2009 witch hunting has told the TRRC regional hearing that 13 people died after drinking the witch-hunters’ concoction in Kanilai.
Mr. Sanneh, who is originally from Kiang Mandina and has been residing in Foni Sintet since 1970, saidon 9 March 2009 whilst at a naming ceremony, he noticed that few villagers were present and upon enquiring, he was told that most people had run away to seek refuge in Casamance to avoid Jammeh’s witch hunting team.
He said he refused to run to Casamance against advice, adding that he later saw his mother-in-law [Binta Nding Manjang] being dragged and forcefully taken away by witch-hunters who were escorted by the green youths and soldiers sent by Yahya Jammeh.
Sanneh said he personally witnessed one of the Imams being tortured by soldiers.
“I was escorted to the pickup vehicle, which led us to a bus. Two of the people were dressed in red. The man at the gate was pointing a mirror at my direction. One Malanga Jaiteh [mentally challenged] asked the witch hunters to leave the village which infuriated soldiers who disembarked and seriously beat him up. I told the soldiers to stop maltreating the man but Solo Bojang said nothing was wrong with him. The man died few years later,” Sanneh said.
He narrated that a bus was overloaded with women, whilst men boarded a military truck and all headed to Kanilai.
“I remember praying evening prayers but after drinking the concoction, I could not remember if I had prayed and had repeated the prayers of that day three days later. I could not remember anything after we took the concoction.”
He said they were searched and in the process his Nokia phone and D360 were taken.
Sanneh added that he was interrogated by Solo Bojang and one of the witch hunters who pointed a red horn at him while Solo Bojang called Yahya Jammeh who wanted him to confess that he was a witch. ”I replied Jammeh that it is his mother and father who are witches. It was then that the soldiers started beating me mercilessly,” he narrated.
Meanwhile another witness Ali Jallow, also from Sintet, said the witch doctors invaded Sintet three times.
“This incident broke apart our village which was very united. Before the witch hunting incident in 2009, despite different ethnic or tribes living together, the clans of Fula, Mandinka, and Jola were all governed by one Alkalo,” he said.