Gambia: Makumbaya Resident Explains His Ordeal to Truth Commission

A 60 - year - old resident of Makumbaya on Wednesday, 20th November 2019 told the Truth Commission how he was victimized by self-proclaimed witch doctors.

Alkali Ansumana Sarjo, a driver by profession said the witch-doctors came to Makumbaya in the year 2009.

The father of 2 said at the time of the incident, his eldest son was 18 years and the youngest was 12.

He said he was at this time in charge of the community milling machine. He added that he was abducted by the witch-hunters at the place the community milling machine was stationed. He said on this day, 3 witch-hunters came to him at the milling machine and pointed their mirrors at him and told him that he was sick and needed to be cured.

"I told them I was not sick. I was alright. But they told me if I refuse, they will call the Green Boys to take me forcefully," he said.

He said after a brief exchange of words between him and the witch-doctors, he allowed them to take him to where their bus was stationed. He said the bus was coloured all green. He said all the seats in the bus were occupied and the rest of the occupants were standing inside the bus. He said they were taken to Kololi to a residence believed to be owned by late Baba Jobe, a former lawmaker. He said the cameraman was one Moro Ceesay from Faraba. He said in the vehicle, there were people from Galloya and Kubariko in addition to those from Makumbaya.

He said at Kololi, he was called into a room where he was given concoction. He said he was given the concoction in a room that looked like a toilet or bathroom. He said he was the last person from Makumbaya to be given the medicine. He said after taking the concoction, they were taken outside where they were made to sit.

"People were bending down like sick cocks. We were all removed from the open space and taken to the hall. When we were taken to the hall, each of us slept where he/she was sitting," he said.

He said he took the concoction between 6:30 to 6:40 pm.

"I was not sleeping. I was virtually dead because I drank two litters of the concoction. I regain my senses at 10 am the following day," he said.

He said after regaining his senses, he was instructed to go and be washed with the concoction at the same room.

"When I got there, I was made to drink the concoction and I was bathed with it," he said.

He said they were kept there the whole day without food and water and were released around 7 pm. He said he lost strength as a result of the concoction.

He said he was later arrested following an interview he had with Halifa Sallah of Foroyaa Newspaper. He said he was arrested by police from Banjulinding Police Station who transferred him to the Police Headquarters and later to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He said he was released late at night and he walked from Banjul to Makumbaya.

He said he was told that Halifa Sallah wanted to use them to breach the peace of the country. According to him, Sallah was very sad when he met him.

He said he later went to Cassamance where he underwent a three-month treatment.

"The ordeal I went through brought my driving career and my work at the community milling machine to an end," he said.

He said he cannot walk for meters without stopping to relax. He said he is no more working and lives on the support he gets from people.

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