Victim: I was arrested because I was perceived as opposition

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Sixty-four year-old Ismaila Manjang said he was arrested during Gambia’s former administration because he was perceived an opposition to the government.

Testifying before in the Tuesday hearings of Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), Mr Manjang said he never participated in any of the political platforms of APRC nor did he accept any rice, sugar or money from them.

“What I believe is that there were some people who hated me and reported me but at that moment there was no enmity between me and anyone.”

He recalled the trauma and suffering he went through when he was arrested. “While I was arrested, a man came and told me that so you are Ismaila Manjang who insulted the elders of Gunjur and I told him that is not true but he said I was lying. He took a rubber baton and hit my right and left shoulder and I told him continue beating me till I die.”

Mr Manjang added that he was ordered to strip off his clothes but he refused to remove his trousers and a man he identified as the leader gave commands to two men to accompany him to his cell. He explained that the cell that he was put in was dusty and dirty.

Mr Manjang further testified that when he was dragged out of his house, he was told that they were taking him to the police station but instead he was taken to the NIA premises.

He told the truth-seeking commission that a day before his arrest, he gave an Islamic lecture at a graduation of Arabic students.

“I told them that Allah is one and we have places of worship like mosques and houses. When our teacher Hatab Bojang was coming here he found places that are not meant for worship like the Kachikally crocodile pool, Kartong folongko and Gunjur mosque.”

He explained that all the places people use for ungodly worships were created by people and not according to Allah’s instructions.

Story written by Binta Badjie

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