The criminal trial of Dr. Isatou Touray, the Executive Director of the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practice affecting the health of women and girls, and Amie Bojang-Sissoho, Programme Coordinator of the same organization, yesterday continued at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.
Dr. Isatou Touray and Mrs Amie Bojang-Sissoho were alleged to have some time in the year 2009, in Banjul and diverse places in the Gambia, jointly stole the sum of €30,000 being money provided by the YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD of Spain to GAMCOTRAP.
Yesterday’s proceeding saw the testimonies of three prosecution witnesses namely, Tombong Jatta of Sutunkonding, Jabou Baldeh of Koba Kunda and Fatoumata Damba of Wuli Samba Kabudeh, all from the Upper River Region
Testifying earlier, Tombong Jatta, the third prosecution witness, told the court that she is a resident of Sutundonding village in the Upper River Region, and that she is a female circumciser and a petty trader.
Mrs Jatta told the court that she recognised the accused persons, and could remember sometime last year when they were called by the accused persons to attend a meeting in Basse in the Upper River Region.
“After this meeting, the accused persons took photos of the people that attended the meeting, and each was given D200 for transport fare,” she said.
She added: “During our first meeting, we were told to drop our knives for FGM, and the second meeting at Basse I was asked by the accused persons to select another 15 people including the alkalos (village heads), imams and women’s president to attend the meeting.”
“After the second meeting, I was given D3000 as transport fare, and I was given extra D3000 for the 15 people who accompanied me to the meeting to share among themselves,” she adduced.
She added that the other 15 people were each given a T-shirt to wear, and the D3000 given to her was for them to drop their knives as female circumcisers, since the accused persons had told them that it was not good for the health of the girl-child.
She said after the second meeting in Basse, she never saw the accused persons until when she was called to come and testify in court.
Under cross-examination by defence counsel Amie Bensunda, the witness said she has been a female circumciser for three years now.
She admitted under cross-examination that they were provided with lunch and breakfast during the meetings.
Mrs Jatta also said there was a lot of women circumcisers who attended the meetings, but she could not ascertain how many people attended.
She added that all the female circumcisers that attended the meetings were given a uniform commonly known as “asobee” to wear.
“We did not buy any food when we went for the meetings, and we did not go with any food to the meetings. It was all catered for by the accused persons,” she told the court.
The fourth and fifth prosecution witnesses, Jabou Jatta of Kobaa Kunda and Fatoumata Damba of Wuli Samba Kabudeh, all gave similar testimonies.
Magistrate Nkea adjourned the case till 8 December 2010 for continuation.