Gambia: Survivor Alleges They Were Forced to Admit They Were Witches

Matty Sanyang of Sintet Village has told the TRRC that they were forced by witch-hunters to admit they were witches and wizards.

"The Witch Hunters told us that we should say 'we are Witches'. " I admitted to being a witch to avoid drinking the concoction again," she said.

The 68 - year - old was abducted together with several other natives of Sintet and taken to Kanilai where they were given concoction to drink. She told the Commission that the witch-hunters found her at a naming ceremony and took her away. She added that the witch-hunters were under the escort of soldiers and personnel of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU). She said even though some of them escaped and sought refuge at a nearby community, the witch-hunters captured them later.

"We ran and sought refuge in Karbong village, but we were captured. I attempted to jump over to another room, but fell down and had some bruises on my hands and I was shocked," she said.

The witness said the mother of the child who was been christened was part of those abducted, but she was subsequently released after some pleadings. She said she was taken to Kanilai together with several women and men from Sintet and were made to drink concoction.

The mother of four said one of her brothers, who was mentally imbalanced was beaten severely by the soldiers for refusing to board on the bus . She adduced that blood was oozing from his forehead and he was forced to get on board the bus. She said one Malangai Gaye was beaten by the PIU and Soldiers and he subsequently died, but prior to his demise, he was taken to the Kanifing Hospital.

"He (Malangai Gaye) was just vomiting blood throughout before he died," she said.

She said after drinking the concoction, many people became unconscious and began fainting. The witness said she was forced to undress naked by two of the witch-hunters, who subsequently bathed her with their concoction.

She said she cannot do any work now, adding that she lacks strength to do farm work as a result of the mistreatment by the witch hunters.

"The concoction has indeed damaged my life. I cannot work now - I am dependent on people," she said.

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