Gambian opposition leader slams government over witch hunters

Gambia News, 11 Feb. 2009

The Director of People’s Centre for Social Science Research and Civic Awareness, Halifa Sallah has charged the Gambian government to investigate and disassociate itself from the ongoing arrest of people accused of being witches by purported witch hunters and people posing as military personnel.
Addressing journalists at Serrekunda Tuesday, Sallah said some people were arrested and convicted for spreading false information about President Yahya Jammeh recently, and asked why the government was keeping quiet about the abduction of people in Jambour (about 36KM from Banjul) and Barra (in the North Bank) on allegation of witchcraft by people posing as military personnel and witch hunters.

The Coordinator of the Opposition National Alliance for Democracy and Development said scores of people were abducted by the so-called witch hunters and taken to an unknown location in the Kombos (the closes settlement to Banjul) and forced to drink a concoction.

Sallah said it was wrong to enter people’s compound and forcefully take them away on allegation of witchcraft, adding that he asked Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy, to convene a meeting of the National Security Council to address the matter.

Dodou Sanyang, a resident of Essau in the North Bank, told journalists that his mother, Jonyi Sonko, was arrested by people in military uniform and so-called witchcraft hunters on Thursday and taken to a place in the Kombos called Baba Jobe’s Compound.

Sanyang said his mother was held by her captors until Monday when she was released to go home.

He said his mother told him they were given a concoction to drink, adding that some of those who drank the concoction became unconscious and said crazy things.

Sanyang added that his mother also told him that some of her co-captives defecated and urinated on their clothes after drinking the concoction.


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