Story written by Juldeh Njie
EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Former Inspector General of Gambia Police Force, Tuesday explained that marabouts under the directives of then President Yahya Jammeh ordered him to remove his cloths for ‘spiritual’ inspection prior to the 2009 with-hunt exercise.
Ensa Badjie, widely known as Jesus, is alleged to have promoted Jammeh’s witch-hunting exercise that victimised hundreds of people both in the formal and informal setups.
Testifying before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission –TRRC- on Wednesday, Badjie presented himself as a victim rather than a perpetrator in the exercise.
The 2009 witch-hunting exercise primarily targeted Gambian communities, particularly those in the region of Foni, where Mr Jammeh himself hailed from, forcing several people to drink a concoction that would render many of them unconscious and admit to being witches and wizards.
“The former President called me personally on the phone and informed me that Solo Bojang was coming with some Fula marabouts to the police headquarters. He told me that everyone must comply and I should dismiss those who fail to comply,” Badjie said.
The former IGP claimed that he didn’t know of Jammeh’s witch-hunting exercise until when soldiers and the marabouts invaded the police headquarters in Banjul.
In March 2009, Amnesty International reported that up to 1,000 Gambians had been abducted by the government-sponsored “witch doctors” on charges of witchcraft, and taken to government detention centres where they were forced to drink poisonous hallucinogenic substances.
“They were drumming and singing in my office. The Fula man told me to take off my trouser. Between me and God, I stood, I took down my pants, I unbutton my uniform shirt and he took a mirror and put it all around my body, while some were drumming. He was holding a big mirror in his hands and pointing it in every direction of the room. After that, I was ashamed, but I have no choice,” Badjie told the Commission.
Mr Badjie said armed soldiers and the marabouts led by Major Solo Bojang came to the headquarters in search of witches and wizards, saying the exercise require the parading of the police for the marabouts hired by ex-president Jammeh to point out who they wish to label as a witch or wizard.