EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Nyima Jarju told the truth-seeking commission on Thursday that she was abducted with her suckling baby and mother-in-law by the police and illegally kept in a cell at Sibanorr police station for a week without food or bath.
Testifying before the Commission in Sibanorr during public hearing on former President Yahya Jammeh’s 2009 witch-hunting exercise, Mrs Badjie said the cell they were illegally kept in had no enough ventilation.
She said they were captured on a Tuesday when the officers met her mother-in-law at their home and forced her into the vehicle and asked about her –Nyima- location and she told them that she went to the garden. “They forced her to to take them to the garden to meet me,” she said.
Mrs Jarju said when they arrived at the garden, she saw four men, two of whom were in uniform and the other two in civilian dress who asked her to board the vehicle. “When I boarded the vehicle, I found my mother-in-law there and when I asked her what has happened, she told me that she don’t know but asked we should just go with them and that was how we were taken to the Sibanorr police station.”
Her husband, Lamin Badjie, who was also testifying alongside told the TRRC that his father, Bulli Badjie was captured by Solo Bojang and witch-hunter Tamba Jiro and taken to Sintet hospital. “In front of everyone, they lighted a coal pot and put powered medicine in it and the pot started producing smoke and they pushed my head into the smoke.”
Mr Badjie said his father ran from Sintet to Dasilameh for his safety and he was unhappy about that because his father was old and the only elder he had left. According to him, the orders were given by the former president Yahya Jammeh and Solo Bojang was leading them.
Mrs Jarju said when they arrived at the Sibanorr police station, the Officer Commanding, who’s name she can only remembers as Tamsir, called her mother-in-law and asked her tell them the whereabouts of Bulli Badjie and she told them that she does not know. “I was asked the same question again and I gave the same answer but a police officer told me that I was lying and Tamsir ordered them to keep us in a cell where we spend the night.”
She said the following morning they were called to clarify our statements, and the OC threatened them that if they refuse to tell them the whereabouts of Bulli Badjie they will remain in the cell. “Then I told him that we can die in the cell but I was not going to tell them. Immediately, my mother-in-law placed her hand on my mouth. I told them that we did not kill anyone, and we did not steal from anyone, neither have we break any law,” she said.
She narrated that while they were under police detention, they were not given any food and they found a bottle of urine in the cell with disturbing mosquitos in the cell. “It was due to the difficulties and the shock we encountered in the cell that led to the death of my mother-in-law.”
Story written by Binta Badjie