Barra Alkalo explains how he and his father were abducted

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EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: 57-year-old Alkalo of Barra, who testified before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission –TRRC- has explained how he and his father – Alhagie Ken Bougul Faye –were abducted by Jammeh’s witch hunters and forced to drink the concoction.

Testifying on events leading to the abduction, Alhagie Babucarr Faye told the truth-seeking Commission at its Tuesday public hearing on former President Yahya Jammeh’s 2009 witch-hunting exercise in Essau that his father was abducted from his compound and taken away.

“I crossed and went to Banjul to look after my own business when I heard that there were some marabouts at Barra.  I was there until I received a call from my elder brother that the witch-hunters have come to pick my father from the compound,” he added.

Mr Faye said his elder brother informed him that the witch-hunters were accompanied by Salifu Corr, Saihou Jallow [soldiers from state house] plus officer-in-charge, one Jawo of Barra police station.

He claimed that at Baba Jobe’s compound, his father was given the medicine to drink which led him to lose control of himself.  “I heard that they gave him the concoction for the second time and covered his head with a nylon.”

Mr Faye further told the commission that when the old man drank the medicine for the second time, he felt down and they thought he was death, adding that when his father was released, he was taken to his elder sister, Amie Faye’s compound in Kotu for him to be treated.

He said he woke up early to check on the ferry for his mother who is supposed to go to Kotu to stay with his father during the course of his treatment and that was when he received a call from Jawo, the OC at Barra police station requesting to see him and when he asked why, he told him that he just wanted them to talk.

“I did not see the ferry. So, I decided to go to the police station because I don’t think it will be a long discussion then I can come back to check on the ferry. When I reached the police station, I found that the place was filled with soldiers and I wondered what has happened.”

The businessman told the commission that when he arrived in the station, he was asked to sit down and he [Jawo] told him that he was instructed to keep him [Faye] at the station.  “When I asked him what I have done, he said he doesn’t know what I have done. He said he was only instructed to keep me there,” he stated.

Mr Faye said he told the OC that he is the head of the law enforcement team around the area and if he doesn’t know what was going to happen, how can he –Faye- know. “When I came to realise that these people were ready to harm me, and take me away forcefully, I told them that there is no need to talk, I will do what you want. That’s the time Jawo called Salifu Corr and they escorted me,” he claimed.

The exiled ex-president used to mix herbs to produce the substance which he forcefully administered on people he suspected as either witches or wizards in different communities across the country in 2009.

He said he was escorted by four armed soldiers to Fort Bullet, where he was locked up in a room where soldiers keep their sheep, saying while he was in the cell, he saw his aunty and others from Essau and appealed to the soldiers to allow him to talk to them.

He said they saw a bus coming towards their end carrying people from Essau, adding that they were taken to Baba Jobe’s compound where they were forced to drink the concoction and he stood up at the counter all night.

He added that the following morning, they separated the people who the concoction rendered unconscious from those who were not weakened by it.

When asked what sufferings have the abductees undergone, he said “All kinds of things that could happen to a person had happened to us there. I saw someone who urinated and I saw someone who also vomited.”

Explaining the impact of the concoction on his life, Babucarr Faye; “I sat for a whole month and it’s like something is working inside my stomach and making me fell like wanting to vomit.”

He said he was admitted at Africmed clinic for three days and was later referred to Dakar, saying that prior to his abduction, he was a healthy man. He also said that he and his father were having life threatening illnesses as a result, they undergone treatment at the United States.

Story written by Juldeh Njie

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