By Yankuba Jallow
Three women from Galoya on Tuesday, 19th November 2019, gave vivid account of how witch doctors under the protection of the State took their money and forced them to drink hallucinogenic concoction.
The three residents of Galoya in Kombo North District alleged that they gave their money to witch doctors for safe keeping, but they ended up losing it because the custodians of the money refused to hand it over to them.
Lamarana Jallow, Sukai Jallow and Fatou Sowe all appeared together before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to give testimony about their victimisation by former President Yahya Jammeh’s squad of witch – doctors. They were abducted by witch – doctors in 2009 and taken to Kololi where they were given concoction to drink. They were told that they were going to be cured by the witch – doctors who presented themselves as marabouts.
The trio, Lamarana Jallow, Sukai Jallow and Fatou Sowe said they all handed their money to the witch – doctors which they ended up not accessing even after requesting for it. Lamarana said her D2500 was taken from her, Sukai Jallow said D700 and Fatou Sowe said D2500.
“We were told to hand over our belongings to them. We gave them our monies but when we asked them about it, they refused to hand it over to us,” they told the Commission.
Lamarana Jallow, 62, narrated that the witch – doctors abducted her at the Makumbaya market where she was selling. She said her properties were thrown inside a bus by the Green Boys who came together with the witch – doctors.
According to her, she was captured together with Maram Jallow from Kubariko at the market, adding that the witch doctors also arrested people they found in the rice fields. She described the witch doctors as heartless.
He said the witch – hunters dubbed marabouts were dressed in red clothes and had mirrors they used to point at people.
“The witch doctor took D2500 from me before asking me to drink the concoction, they never returned this money to me,” she said, adding “some of us were beaten and forced to drink the concoction. Some people became unconscious and started falling down after they drank the concoction. Some people were urinating on themselves. After drinking a liter of the concoction, the man told me that if I drink water I will die. This was the only thing I can remember before losing consciousness.”
Sukai Jallow recounted that the witch – hunters abducted her while she was working at home. She said a vehicle was parked at the Makumbaya village square and it was where all those abducted by the witch – hunters were brought.
“I was unhappy to get on board the bus, but I had no other choice. I couldn’t do anything about it and I decided to keep my faith in God. When we arrived in Kololi, we were given food and asked to hand over our belongings to them before drinking the concoction, so I gave them D700 , but this money was never returned to me,” she said.
She narrated that after drinking the concoction, the person who was issuing them the concoction asked her to chew and swallow the leaves. She said after drinking the concoction and chewing the leaves, she lost consciousness and became weak. She added she regained her senses in the following morning.
She concluded that after drinking the concoction, she was awakened by a green boy in the morning who asked her to tell him the number of people she has eaten a year ago. In reply to the green boy, the witness said she told him that she has never eaten anybody, but the boy was adamant that she must tell him the number of persons she has eaten.
Fatou Sowe was arrested together with Sukai Jallow in Galloya and she gave similar testimony like Sukai Jallow.
“I was very scared when I was abducted by the witch doctors, I even thought that they were going to kill us because there was a lot of rumours of killings all-over the country, one of our relative by the name Modou was killed in Niumi, prior to the coming of the witch –doctors,” she explained.
She added: “I also handed D2500 to the witch doctors for safe keeping, but they never returned this money to me. This money was sent to me by my son in Malaysia for the upkeep of the family.”
She added that after drinking the concoction, one of the green youths asked her to tell him how many people she has eaten since last year. According to her, in response, she told the green youth that she has never tasted or eaten human flesh in her entire life