By Yankuba Jallow
Dembo Bojang, a survivor of the 2009 witch-hunting activity initiated by former President Yahya Jammeh, has told the TRRC that he is still suffering from complications as a result of the concoction he was forced to drink by witch – hunters.
Bojang appeared before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission’s (TRRC) ongoing regional hearing on Monday, 18th November 2019 in Jambur. The Commission came into being through an Act of the National Assembly which mandates it to investigate past human rights violations that happened under the 22 – year rule of former President Yahya Jammeh.
Bojang gave the names of 10 people who died in Jambur. According to him, it was believed their death was caused by the concoction they were forced to drink. He said those who died were Manjiki Cham, Kaddy Jatta, Dembo Jalitou, Lamin Dandan Bah, Saikou Camara, Bouy Kotteh, Kosa Darboe and Mamadou Kumba among others. He also gave names of some people he said, are lying on their sickbed as a result of the concoction. He told the Commission these people were forcefully given concoction by the visitors in a dirty toilet. He testified that the victims were captured around lunch time and so they did not eat anything as of the time they were forced to drink the concoction.
He said the witch – hunters were led by Ali Ceesay from Latriya village and he was accompanied by ex-Major Solo Bojang with armed soldiers and Yahya Jammeh’s ‘Green with ‘Green Boys.’ He added that Solo Bojang was also armed.
He testified when the strangers arrived in Jambur, their village head told them that these strangers were marabouts and they came to cure people. He informed the Commission that the visitors went to the community cemetery where they sacrificed a cock and a goat. He went to add that when they came back, they began going round the village in search of people.
The witness testified he was caught by the strangers, adding his brother who he shares the same mother and father was also abducted. He said the marabouts brought all those who were captured to the bus.
“We were told that they came to cure us, but none of us reported any sickness to them,” he remarked.
He testified they were taken to Baba Jobe’s (a former Parliamentarian) residence in Kololi. He said they were not given lunch by the witch – hunters even though some of them were caught during lunchtime. He said late in the evening, they were asked to line up and each of them was given concoction in a B&B condensed milk tin. He said they were asked to remove their clothes and were bathed by young boys. He added that even the women were bathed by young boys.
“If it was not for the use of force, no human being will drink that concoction given to us. It was very dirty and unpleasant. We drank the concoction inside a toilet,” he said.
He said after drinking the concoction, he realized changes in his body including dizziness and lack of strength among other health complications which he preferred not to mention publicly.
“The concoction weakened me. I am no more the person I was,” he said.
He said they were released the following day, adding that many of them were suffering from different health complication while some became virtually paralyzed.