By Ousman A. Marong
A survivor of the 2009 witch-hunting exercise has on Monday, 25th November 2019, told the Gambia’s Truth Commission (TRRC) that 13 people among those who were arrested and forced to drink the concoction of the witch hunters sent by the former president Yahya Jammeh, died. He revealed that one of the said persons died instantly in his presence, after drinking the said concoction at the former president Yahya Jammeh’s residence in Kanilai village, Foni Kansala District, West Coast Region.
Karamo Sanneh (the witness) made this revelation at the TRRC’s community hearings in Sibanor village in the West Coast Region.
He explained that they were arrested from their village in Sintet around 5:00pm and transported in a military truck to the ex-president’s residence in Kanilai village.
He said: “From the moment I drank the concoction, I was brought to the veranda and I didn’t know what was going on until the following morning. I cannot tell whether I was dead or alive.”
He recalled that Major Solo Bojang, formerly of the Gambia Armed Forces called the former president Yahya Jammeh in their presence and put the phone on loudspeaker for them to hear who is talking on the line.
“Yahya Jammeh told me to say I am a wizard but in response, I told him it is his mother and father who are the witches and wizards. Solo Bojang gave me a nasty slap and they beat me severely. They have destroyed my life,” he further revealed.
Sanneh said the witch-hunters insisted that he must admit being a wizard, but he refused and was maltreated.
“When I was released, it was difficult me to walk and my legs were not steady and could not see properly. It appears as if there are holes in front of me. My health condition has deteriorated and every two weeks I go to the Bwiam Hospital,” he stated.
“I can remember 13 people died as a result of the concoction. One of them died in my presence,” he told the Truth Commission. He also provided the Commission with a list of names of those who were abducted by the witch hunters in 2009.
The witness who was born in Kiang Madina in the Lower River Region, said he has been a resident of Sintet since 1970.