Presidential Insanity in The Gambia

March 18, 2009

Yahya Jammeh came to be head of state of The Gambia in 1994 through a bloodless and possibly accidental coup. His regime has become increasingly paranoid and repressive. About a year ago, Jammeh issued a decree that any hotel housing a homosexual would be closed and any homosexuals found discovered in The Gambia would be beheaded. Jammeh has always been obsessed with juju (aka black magic or witch craft). He has recently become convinced that his aunt was killed by witchcraft early this year and has launched a broad campaign of retribution among his own people.

Up to 1,000 people have been kidnapped… since early February and taken to detention centres or to [President Yahya Jameh’s] farm in Kanilai, accompanied by the President’s personal protection guards, the police and the army, according to an Amnesty International communiqué released on 18 March.

Amnesty says in its communiqué that witch doctors were invited to Gambia in early 2009 soon after the death of President Jammeh’s aunt; the President reportedly believes witchcraft was used in her death.

Victims [say] they were held for up to five days and forced to drink herbal concoctions that made them hallucinate. Many said they were severely beaten, some at gunpoint, in many cases nearly to death.

“I was among several villagers who were forcefully abducted from home by a group of armed soldiers and some civilians on 9 March,” Kebba Saneh from Makumbaya village in Kombo district told IRIN. “I was forced to drink drugs which made me unconscious. There was no way we could try to escape.”

read the full report at

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