Could Not Recall the Way I Was Raped

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Nene Galleh Barry

Hon. Fatoumata K. Jawara, National Assembly Member for Tallinding Constituency and former female Youth mobilizer of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), that the former director of Operations at the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Sheik Omar Jeng, ordered the NIA officers to rape her while she being detained at the NIA sometime in April 2016.

Hon. Jawara was among many UDP members who were arrested in April 2016, alongside with the late Solo Sandeng, former National Youth Secretary of the UDP. The UDP militants, led by the late Solo Sandeng had organized a peaceful protest in April 2016, demanding for Electoral reforms. The security officers (mainly the PIU and NIA) arrested them at Westfield and transported them to the NIA and Mile prisons where they underwent interrogations and serious torture for organizing a protest without permit.

She said: “He (Sheikh Omar Jeng) warned me that if I didn’t speak up concerning our protest, he will ask the NIA officers to have sex with me. I responded by telling him that I never play in my life and that my husband met me as a virgin and that, I have never slept with a man in my entire life apart from my husband”.

The witness said she could not recall the way she was raped.

She said Sheikh Omar Jeng told her (Fatoumata K. Jawara) that they would be released immediately when their wounds healed.

“He (Sheikh Omar) informed me that he was disturbed as he was receiving calls from the four corners of the world regarding our issue. He constantly calls my name even when I was at sleep. I told him you said you never beat people here at NIA so why allowing other security apparatus to use your institution as their torture chamber? I told him my clothes were all dirty with blood clots. That was the time he (Sheikh Omar) gave some money to one of the female officers to buy us clothes to wear,” she remarked.

She informed the commission that both herself and Fatou Camara were urinating blood during their confinement at the NIA. She alleged that of the security officers (name unknown) stamped his military boots on Nogoi Njie’s middle finger and broke her finger.

She said Nogoi Njie was constantly begging the security officers at NIA to help her heal her broken finger with her swollen face. Hon. Jawara added that Nogoi Njie said she was ashame to come out with such conditions.

She revealed that they spent nine days at the Edward Small Francis Teaching Hospital (ESFTH) before they were transported to the Mile ll State Central Prison.

She recalled Fatou Darboe, Lamin Lang Sanyang and Fatou Saribah to be amongst the nurses who were assisting her. She opined that Saribah might not be willing to testify because she is from former President Jammeh’s birthplace (Kanilai).

She also disclosed that one Foday Lamin Kombo Sillah, a police officer who was taking their statements asked them to give their statements as it happened.

“The officer took our statements without fear. Upon arrival at Janjanbureh prison, an unknown officer stood up and said he took my statements at Mile ll. Lamin Kombo Sillah stood up in the court and denied the claim. He was asked by the principal magistrate to as how did he know, and he told the court that he was the one who took my statement and he could recall. He asked the court even if he can be accorded the chance to figure me out, he will walk up to me and point me out. The court asked him not to worry,” she asserted.

She said after spending 9th days at the hospital they were taken straight to Mile ll central prison.

Describing the prison conditions at Mile ll, the witness said the place was very dirty. She said Mile Two cells have little or no ventilation.

She further informed the commission that they were given a chamber pot where they put all their urine, defecate and perform ablution from the same chamber pot.