TRRC witness: Being a UDP member was hard

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

One Yahya Bojang, born in Kanfenda in the Fonis and resident of Brikama Kabafitta has told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) chaired by Dr. Lamin J. Sise that his membership of the United Democratic Party (UDP) brought hardship to him and that he was called a foolish Jola who had refused to join Yahya Jammeh – a son to his auntie, late Asombi Bojang.

The witness disclosed that UDP was Yahya Jammeh’s poison, noting that it is UDP that was the problem of the former president.

The witness made this disclosure yesterday whilst testifying before the TRRC. He added that in 1994, when Yahya Jammeh took over power, he told people that the country was in a mess whilst he(witness) had all the conviction that military government was not good for a country like The Gambia.

He said he was among those UDP stalwarts that nominated Ousainou Darboe as the party leader and he served as interpreter in Jola during political meetings/ campaign of UDP throughout the country.

He pointed out that the late Shygle Nyassi and he were the foremost Jolas in the UDP and that in 1996, he had prepared to attend the UDP political rally in Brikama but failed after he had to attend his younger brother’s funeral at Kafenda.

The witness said upon his return, he was informed by his children that some group of soldiers and police officers came looking for him.

He revealed that whilst there, a soldier saw him and he hurriedly left. He added that few moments later, the soldier returned with other soldiers and he was taken to the NIA premises in Banjul.

The witness further revealed that whilst at the NIA Headquarters, the then director, Abdoulie Kujabi, came to him holding cigarette and warned him that anybody who doesn’t want Yahya Jammeh would never leave the NIA alive.

The witness told the Commission that he also responded that he would leave the NIA alive because he met him there and would leave him there.

He asserted that after Kujabi returned to his office, some officers came to him and stripped him naked, took him to a tap, poured water on his head and led him to a place where he was electrocuted.

He further asserted that he was placed inside ‘Banbandinka’ in an underground cell where his legs were tied and electrocuted.

He noted that he was unable to perform his marital obligations for 3 years after he was released as his male genitals was electrocuted.

He told the Commission that his head was covered with a black plastic bag as NIA operatives attempted to suffocate him; his hands were electrocuted and couldn’t do anything with his hands.

He said he spent seven days in Banbandinka and he was released. However,  as he was leaving the premises, he was recalled and rearrested and detained again.

He revealed that he spent another four days in detention where he met five soldiers alleged to have been involved in the Farafenni Barrack attack.

The witness further revealed that after he was released, UDP leader Ousainou Darboe took him to Dr. Ceesay’s Clinic where he was treated.

He noted that his younger wife left him because he was unable to perform his marital obligation and his employment at the Brikama Health Center was terminated by the Yahya Jammeh government and so his children dropped out of school.

He indicated that he has been depending on hand-outs but he has continued to actively participate in UDP activities.

Author: Bruce Asemota