A Gambian businessman has accused the former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh of sacrificing newborn babies for ritualistic purposes. He says the babies were taken from hospitals and sacrificed. Sillaba Samateh made the allegations before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on Tuesday. As Pa Nderry Mbai reports from Raleigh, North Carolina, Jammeh’s supporters are denying the allegations.
Speaking before an interpreter businessman Sillaba Samateh claimed that he learned about Jammeh’s alleged babies’ ritual while he was under detention at the National Intelligence Agency in Banjul. Samateh said he himself was being used to transport the stolen babies into the office of the late NIA Director General Numo Kujabi.
The two former security officers Samateh named in his testimony Nfanli Jabang and Numo Kujabi have died.
“You know the seriousness of this accusations. That the President of this country, was taking babies from hospitals and take them to prison to Kanilai for human sacrifice,” Lead Counsel Essa Faal told Mr. Samateh.
Samateh still stands by his story. He says Jammeh was allegedly killing babies for ritual purposes.
Samateh was held at the NIA on drug trafficking related charges. He later jumped bail and fled to Holland.
He claimed that while at the NIA, he was often asked to pick up dead bodies and put them in body bags.
Dodou Jah is the Deputy Spokesman for the former ruling APRC party.
“If these allegations were true, where are the parents of those kids, they have relatives, knowing for example, my wife is pregnant, goes to the hospital to deliver, we are expecting a baby. Even if my wife happens to pass away, but the baby belongs to the family, if the family doesn’t see it, the hospital is responsible. And these are issues that cannot go under the carpet, the media would be in the epicenter of it and this news is going to spread, but how come no such story ever emerged,” Mr. Jah said.
Jah says Samateh’s claims should be treated with pinch of salt. He added that witnesses should testify the truth and stop making baseless allegations against Yahya Jammeh.
“Not I don’t trust the TRRC, but some of the revelations I don’t know what to believe and the lead counsel is proving to them that they are lying. A witness comes to the TRRC and the lead counsel is telling them you are lying, but people want me to believe what they are saying. You know until somebody said it is red, another said it is black, I am asking who do I have to believe,” Mr. Jah remarked.
Samsudeen Sarr is the former Gambian Ambassador to the United Nations. Sarr is also a sympathizer of the APRC party.
“If thing of that nature as gruesome that is, would have been talked about everywhere in this country. So, I have serious doubts as to the credibility of the story of Sillaba Samateh,” Sarr remarked.
Sarr says Sillaba’s reputation is questionable. He is not convinced that Samateh was being truthful to the Commission.
“His reputation in this country has not been very good. You that, you know better than I do, Sillaba’s name it was not associated with good things in the past and since the change of government, he has been trying to sanitize his name and join the Barrow government,” Sarr added.
Lead Counsel Essa Faal says given the seriousness of Samateh’s allegations; it is important for the Commission’s Investigation team to investigate the matter.
Samateh was in tears while giving evidence. He claimed that one of the NIA officers Omar Cham had even threatened to rape his wife while they were being held there.
In another development, a former NIA detainee, who wished not to be named has dismissed Sillaba’s claims. He has accused Samateh of lying to the TRRC.
“We were detained at the same location at the NIA. No babies were brought to the NIA for ritual sacrifices. That was a figment of Sillaba’s own imagination. I am calling you, because I feel that he was untruthful to the Commission,” he said.
“As you rightly pointed out in your radio show, Numo Kujabi and Nfanli Jabang are not alive to substantiate his allegations. He is using the death to sell a false story,” the caller added.