Gambia’s security forces have started rounding up villagers suspected of being witches and wizards, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Dozens of residents of Kamfenda, have been arrested and subjected to torture and other cruel treatment by dictator Yahya Jammeh’s guards. Kamfenda is a village, situated in the Fonis, in the Western Region of The Gambia. Some of the villagers have started fleeing to the neighboring Southern Province of Casamance in fear of their lives and personal safety.
The mass arrest and torture of the suspected witches and wizards, followed reports that a soldier loyal dictator Yahya Jammeh, who hailed from the same area, was diagnosed to be suffering from witchcraft related illness. The soldier in question was briefly hospitalized at a hospital in Bwiam, which is named after dictator Yahya Jammeh’s late father Sulayman James Junkung Jammeh. Doctors couldn’t treat the patient; hence his ailing medical debacle was attributed to witchcraft.
Personnel of dictator Yahya Jammeh’s constituted assassin team called the “jungullars” received an order on Tuesday, to raid and arrest the villagers of Kamfenda. The order came from dictator Jammeh himself. He instructed his guards to process the suspected witches and determine who are responsible for the soldier’s illness.
During the course of the interrogations, the suspected witches apprehended in Kamfenda and its surrounding villages, were brutally tortured by the armed guards. They were also forced to drink concoctions given to the guards by Jammeh to administer it on the suspected witches.
The suspected witches have complained about constant stomach pain and diarrhea after they were forced to consume the concoctions. Some were even rendered completely unconscious. Some of the suspected witches currently being held under captivity, are at the risk of dying because of the torture they endured in the hands of Jammeh’s guards.
Meanwhile, anxiety and worry continue to grip the inhabitants of Foni. The panic stricken residents have started deserting their respective villages in fear of being captured by the armed Jammeh guards.
It would be recalled that prior to Tuesday’s witch-hunting in Kamfenda, dictator Jammeh accuses the residents of Foni of being witches and wizards. Jammeh claimed that many youngsters are dying in the area because of witches. He told the residents that he will come after the suspected witches after his tour. And Jammeh has indeed fulfilled his threats against the community of Foni.
Ex Captain Saikou Jallow, who now lives in the United Kingdom, is a former close aide of dictator Yahya Jammeh. Captain Jallow is a born native of Kamfenda. We tried to reach him by phone for comment on the developing story, but he was indisposed.
Prior to his falling out with dictator Jammeh, Captain Jallow was often called “my son” by the dictator. He was in the good books of Jammeh until in 2009, when the dictator dismissed him from the army, and later plotted to kill him. Jallow then fled to Senegal, where he stayed for some time before resettling into the United Kingdom.
Mr. Jallow told the Freedom Newspaper in earlier interview that he saved so many lives, when Jammeh hired witch hunters from Guinea to terrorize Gambian villagers. Jallow said he was privy to the activities of the witch hunters, but he vehemently denied participating in the rounding up of the villagers. His colleagues in the army said he was one of the most professional officers during his stint as a bodyguard and also an orderly at the State House.
Written By A Staff Writer