Gambia: Gorrgui Mboge Blamed in Incident That Claimed 6 Pregnancies

Hon. Ousman Ceesay of Sabach Sanjal, Fatou Secka, and Marget Touray blamed the ex-commander of the Anti-Crime Unit, Gorgui Mboob for the arrest, detention and tortures of Sabach Njien villagers, which resulted in pregnancy loss of six women.

Testifying before the TRRC yesterday, the villagers insisted that Mboge, who was the officer commanding in Farafenni at the time of the incident, ordered the paramilitaries to beat and arrest all people residing at Sabach Njien.

Hon. Touray explained that during the 2012 councilor elections, he represented NRP and lost, saying he knew the election wasn't fair but he admitted and signed the results.

He said the following day, he prepared a charity in his house and all of a sudden, a police officer came asking for the key of their tractor which he refused. Hon. Touray added that the paramilitaries used force on them and upon their arrival at the village, they clashed with the villagers and Gorgui Mboob sustained some injuries. The witness told the commission that he was taken to Farafenni Police Station and upon arrival; Commander Mboob said they would regret the matter because he had sustained injuries. He said Mboob called for reinforcement to arrest the rest of the villagers.

"About 70 people were arrested from the village and the men were 46. The women were harassed at the station and I didn't like it. The paramilitaries said the women wanted to be warriors, but they would regret it. There was a woman who delivered 3 days before the incident. I told the police to help keep the baby somewhere else but they asked me to shut up."

"Mboge was threatening the women to deal with them. He said if to fight with the government was our aim, we would regret it. We were packed in a tight cell and we were not able to pray. My uncle was among the arrestees and some while after the incident, he died. The women were packed under a mango tree and they suffered there under the sun with mosquitoes beating them."

The witnesses said they spent two nights and a day before being arranged at the Farafenni District Tribunal and subsequently granted bailed. He added that he was denied bail and remanded at Janjanburreh prison but the court agreed for a settlement in order to acquit and discharge the women and the men fined D300.

Fatou Secka, also explained that the security beat them mercilessly, adding some were dragged from their houses and mosques. She said her co wife and husband were dragged from their own houses and taken away.

"The arrest started from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. At the course of the arrest, I was pregnant for 4 months and carrying a 3-year-old boy. I lost my pregnancy due to the forceful evacuation by the paramilitaries. My 3-year-boy was separated from me in the car. The police didn't charge us, instead they told us to pretend to be warriors."

She testified that Mboge threatened them, saying he must beat them. She continued that food was given to them by their nearby relatives.

"My boy still suffers from sickness. Jarra Njang was wounded by the paramilitaries but she wasn't taken to any hospital."

Maget Touray told the commission that at the time of the arrest, she was pregnant for 5 months but lost it due to the manner in which she was handled, dragged and beaten by the paramilitaries.

"Other six women who were pregnant also lost their pregnancies as a result of the incident. They beat us mercilessly and people were taken from their rooms, and mosques. Most of the pregnant women lost their pregnancies while at the police and others days after the incident."

She confirmed that the police never took any statement from them, saying she has not been well since the incident.

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