Police recount chaos as witch-hunters storm headquarters

Two senior officers of the Gambia Police Force yesterday revealed before the TRRC a day of chaos nine years ago when mysterious people descended on their offices to hunt for witches on the orders of former President Jammeh.

Chief Superintendent Abdou Colley, the chief disciplinary officer of the Gambia Police recalled how a group of sorcerers accompanied by the security forces descended on the police headquarters in Banjul in March 2009 to ‘abuse and humiliate’ police officers alleged to be witches.

“They all dressed with drums, mirrors, and horns in their hands and donned their clothes. It was outrageous and a chaotic scene never seen at the police headquarters”, Colley said.
He recalled seeing then IGP Essa Badgie with the ‘witch doctors’ who were led to several offices where they claimed they were looking for witches before the IGP called for a major parade for identification of the alleged witches.

He said two police officers, Mustapha Ceesay and Yaya Darboe were identified at the parade as witches while Kumba Jatta who was not in the parade was identified at his office.
He said the three were rounded up and asked to enter a waiting vehicle to an unknown destination. Darboe and Ceesay refused to go but Jatta followed the instruction.
Colley who described the exercise as idol worshipping said it was a total humiliation for the entire police fraternity to be subjected to such a terrible condition but IGP Badgie, who was present at the exercise condoned everything.

“In fact, he announced that whosoever was identified and refused to go to the witch doctors will be dismissed from the force,” Colley said.

Another witness Assistant commissioner Ken Mendy, currently the Deputy Police Commissioner for West Coast told the commission that among other officers identified by the sorcerers as witches included commissioner Pa Sylva, Yusupha Saine and former IGP late FRI Jammeh.

He recalled that the witch doctors had killed a cock, and goat and poured their blood in a ditch where senior police officers were paraded to swear allegiance to former president Jammeh.

Asked about the type of allegiance senior officers swore, Mendy said officers were lined up and asked to walk to the slaughtering ditch in blood to declare their loyalty to the former president Jammeh.

“The officers were saddened and angry about this whole exercise but no one could do anything,” Mendy recalled.

The horrific stories are part of the 10th session of the TRRC which will continue and will include visits to some of the villages which suffered from the same exercise back in 2009.

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