Gambia: Woman Alleges Police Detention Caused Her 6-Month Pregnancy Loss

Hawa Sowe, a resident of Sarah Debbo village in Central River Region's Upper Fulladu District said she lost her 6-month pregnancy following her 24-hour detention by the police in Bansang.

Mrs. Sowe told this reporter that during a dispute between the people of Sarah Debbo over the construction of a Mosque and alkaloship in the village last October, she and other suckling mothers were indiscriminately rounded up alongside men and detained at the Bansang Police Station.

"I was sitting at home and saw a group of policemen and PIU officers led by a man called Momodou Njie, who pointed at me to the security officers that I was part of the trouble makers and they arrested me."

Her daughter, Maimuna Baldeh said when Momodou Njie pointed her mother to the police; she (Maimuna) had warned them against arresting her because she was pregnant and not in a good condition of health.

"My mother was detained for 24-hour before she was granted bail. She slept on the tiles without having something to lie on," she said.

Last week, traveling Magistrate Omar Jabang acquitted and discharged twelve people who were earlier arrested and charged for their involvement in the last October incident in Sareh Debbo before the Bansang Magistrates' Court.

Over the past years, the villagers were entangled in bitter dispute over alkaloship and the construction of a new mosque in the village. The dispute led to a fight in which many people sustained injuries and more than 30 people were arrested by the police in Bansang earlier this year.

Mrs. Sowe's daughter told this reporter that since her mother was granted bail, she started to experience bleeding and she was taken to Bansang Hospital, where she was diagnosed.

"The hospital officials confirmed that the bleeding was due to panic. Since then, my mother has been in pain until she lost her pregnancy at the period of six months."

Maimuna showed a medical paper from the Bansang Hospital that indicates that Mrs. Sowe was referred to Ward C, complaining of PLV bleeding and severe abdominal pain. She vowed Momodou Njie, who identified her mother to the police as a trouble maker and the police who subjected her to the heinous treatment must face justice.

"If that is not done then the problem is not still finished because a pregnant woman was accused of doing something that she hasn't been found guilty of and lost her unborn baby in the process due to the way she was treated."

Maimuna said she and her family didn't accept it because dispute was settled without serving justice on the offenders to avoid such unlawful and arbitrary arrests especially on women. She thus called on the government and human rights defenders to intervene.

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