Mar 16, 2011, 11:50 AM
Babou, a native of Essau on Thursday told the TRRC’s regional hearings in Barra
that after the loss of her eight month old baby due to concoctions she was forced
to drink, she got two more miscarriages and still suffered from navel and head
Recalling the day of the incident, the victim said when the witch hunters came to their village, they alleged she had pregnancy problems and that they were going to treat her. She added that they took her away even though she assured them that she was okay.
“But they insisted that I must go. This was the time my husband intervened and told me to comply because of the fear we had of the former regime”
Babou, a petty trader, also recalled that the witch-hunters were accompanied by personnel of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU), soldiers and the green boys and girls.
She disclosed that she was captured alongside her in-law.
“The vehicle that took us was full but I did not have time to look around because I was embarrassed and humiliated.”
On how she felt to be accused a witch, Babou maintained that she was so ashamed that she did not want to live again.
“I was told to sit in the vehicle and wait for the marabout to give me concoction and I was held in that bus from 3 p.m. to 5p.m. I did not comply going with them but they forced me to go with them.”
She also testified that there were many soldiers, who were armed with rifles as well as green boys.
The witness testified that they threatened to kill any person who refused to comply with the witch-hunters.
Upon arrival in Kololi at the residence of late Baba Jobe, Babou told the commission that they found place full with soldiers, green boys, girls and a marabout.
“I was eight months pregnant at the time of my capture. At this residence, some people who drunk the concoction behaved as drunken persons, while others urinated on themselves,” she explained.
She further narrated that the house they were ordered to drink the concoction looked like a toilet, further describing the concoction as powdery and yellow in colour.
“I was asked to drink a full cup but I told them I couldn’t because of my condition; as I was 8 months pregnant. When I refused to drink the rest of the medicine, my in-law intervened and asked the soldier whether he didn’t see my condition at the time. He told the man that he was very wicked.”
The witness explained that she then put down the cup and left, adding that after drinking the concoction she vomited three times.
“While I was there my in-law was given the concoction to drink and she also vomited. After she returned home she kept on looking for medications but she eventually went mad.”
Babou disclosed that she was not given any food or water and she felt pains in her stomach, adding that she spent the night on the bare floor in the house they were kept.
The following day, she was released with her in-law.
“My head and waist still pains me seriously. However, we were in a hurry to get home because people were looking at us as witches. I was the only young person among those that were taken from Barra.”
After drinking the concoction, witness told the commission that the pains in her stomach continued and she kept going to the hospital.
“When I gave birth, for three days my baby did not suck my breast so I was referred from Essau Health Centre to Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul, but still my baby was not sucking. I was discharged from the hospital and when we returned home my husband bought milk which we used to feed the baby.”
She told the commission that she was later referred to the Children’s hospital around ‘dead house’, where she was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but after several injections she did not feel okay.
“My husband later told me that my baby named after Salma Faal was suffering from scissors and advised that I should see a marabout. So I kept on running from one marabout to another, but she eventually died after 8 months of medical treatment. “
Mrs. Babou told the Commission that after the demise of her baby, she got two more miscarriages and that she still suffered from navel and head pain.