Gambia: Deputy Police Commissioner Testifies About Witch - Hunt At Police Headquarters

The deputy police commissioner of the West Coast Region on Monday, 11th November 2019 testified before the TRRC about the 2009 witch - hunt activity at the police headquarters.

Ken Mendy said sometime in 2009, a group of witch - hunters came to the police headquarters and pointed out some of his colleague police officers as wizards.

Several witnesses have alleged that Ken Mendy was the one recording the names of all those identified as witches or wizards by the Yahya Jammeh's witch - hunters who were believed to come from Guinea Conakry. They were brought by former President Yahya Jammeh and were going round in some of the public institutions or offices including the police headquarters.

The 47 -year - old said at this time, he was an Assistant Superintendent and was deployed to the Registry Office of the police at the Police Headquarters.

"In 2009, at the Police Headquarters between the hours of 8:30 to 10 am, while I was in my office, the then Inspector General of Police Ensa Badjie called me to his office. I did not know what was happening but when I got to his office I was surprised as I found four men dressed in our traditional dress called "Chaya". Some were drumming. Some were having plates with mirrors surrounded by red clothes and a horn surrounded with pieces of red cloth," Mendy said.

The Mboletba born said; "They were wearing red trousers and some of them were not wearing shirt. They were having a small calabash."

"Immediately when I entered the IG's Office, the one who was having that small plate pointed at me and he was looking direct into the mirror. He asked me to come and as I was coming to him, he was going back. We rounded within the Office of the Inspector General of Police and nothing was found on me. One of them told the IGP that I was a good man," he said.

The former assistant commissioner of operation said after he was found clean by the witch - hunters and he was instructed by the former IGP Badjie to record the names of all those who were identified by the witch - hunters as wizards. He said the witch - hunter went to his office and told her secretary - one Fatou Gaye that she was sick.

He said the then IGP asked him to follow them to the other offices. He said at one of the offices, Superintendent Yahya Darboe was pointed as a wizard. He said Mustapha Ceesay and Yusupha Saine were all pointed out at the IT - Unit of the police adding that former IGP Effaray Jammeh, who was at that time a police adviser, was also identified as a wizard. He said he remembered one Pa Sylva was also identified by the witch - hunters.

"The IGP was the one leading these people from office to office," he said.

He said they went to Superintendent Kumba Jatta's office and the witch - hunters took his jujus and labeled him a wizard. The witness added that the police were paraded at the parade ground of the police headquarter under the instruction of IGP Badjie. He said the witch - hunters continued with their search at the parade ground.

He said he cannot remember what those identified as wizards were saying, adding " I don't remember anyone who refused to administer the oath of allegiance."

He said the names he recorded were slightly above 10 men. He said at the parade ground, Ensa Badjie instructed them to board a vehicle because they were going to be washed by the witch - hunters. He said all those who were not identified went back to their offices, adding that the senior officers who took oath of allegiance to the former President went back to their office. He said Mustapha Ceesay and Yaya Darboe refused to board the truck while all others complied with the IGP's instruction. He added that IGP Badjie threatened to dismiss them from services. He said Mustapha Ceesay was charged, demoted to a lower rank and transferred to the hinterland. He said the officers identified as wizards were taken to somewhere around Kotu or Kololi area where they were given concoction and washed.

"The mood was so bad. This has never happened and it took us by surprise," he said.

He said after the witch - hunters finished identifying the witches and wizards, a cock was slaughtered and put at a palm tree near the licensing office.

"The police were lined up and they were swearing at the place where the hen was slaughtered. They swore to be loyal to the President," he said.

About the witness

He said he was enlisted in the Gambia Police Force on the 15th November 1993. He said he was promoted to the rank of Corporal. He said in 2002, he was promoted to Sergeant and later to Inspector in 2004. He said in 2006, he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Police and in 2008, he was promoted to Superintendent. He said in 2010, he was promoted to Chief Superintendent and in 2015 he was promoted to Assistant Commissioner at Lower River Region. He said November 2017 to March 2018 he was redeployed to the police headquarters as Assistant Commissioner of Operation. He is currently the Deputy Police Commissioner of West Coast Region.

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