Sunday, June 23, 2024

Gambia: More women accuse Jammeh of sexual abuse

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Lamin Fadera
Lamin Fadera
Lamin Fadera is a sports journalist based in the Gambia

An anonymous protocol officer has accused former Gambian President Yaya Jammeh of sexual harassment during his tenure.

The witness said Jammeh gave her $1955 (100,000 Dalasi) in their first meeting.

Few months later she was given an appointment letter from the Personnel Management Office as a protocol officer with salary over $117 (6,000 Dalasi).

The witness said whenever the former president is visiting his home village of Kanilai they (protocol officers) will escort him.

During this period Jammeh will sometimes invite the female protocol officers in turns into his room with the assistance of his cousin Jembe Jammeh.

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Sexual harassment claims 

The protected witness told the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission that Yaya Jammeh attempted to have sex with her against her will under the guise of fortifying her spiritually.

“I remember he called me and wanted me to have ritual bath. He said he wanted to protect me. That was very awkward.

He asked me to undress, which I did in a room which was cloudy with smoke. Then he took me to the bathroom and began pouring things on me”.

“The second day, the president called me and asked me to undress. It was at night and he told me I look like a primary school girl.

He started touching my body especially my breast. I remember I started crying, pushing back, going back to an extent to the wall” she told the commission.

According the witness despite all the abuses she suffered in Jammeh’s home village of Kanilai she told the former president she is a father figure to her hence she was not expecting such from him.

“I resisted because this was not the first time I am being sexually harassed. I tried to resist in a very nice way he will not be angry and I told him you are like a father to me. But he did not like that and I had to pay for that.

So he angrily ordered that I should be taken out. I remember that day I was too scared and shaking.”

Termination of appointment

The witness said the next day she was told go back home. Her scholarship was also withdrawn and Jammeh stopped helping her.

The protected witness said she was later sent home by Jammeh.

The witness said she spoke to other protocol officers who had sexual relationship with Jammeh.

According to her two of them got pregnant and had to abort the pregnancy.

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) of Gambia has been providing a platform for witnesses to share their stories on atrocities that took place during the Jammeh era.

The commission is investigating these happenings with the hope of reconciling the nation.

Yahya Jammeh ruled Gambia for 22 years until he was forced out of power in 2017.

He is currently living in exile in Equatorial Guinea.




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