Anonymous witness testifies on Jammeh’s HIV/AIDS treatment

Oct 13, 2020, 1:03 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

An HIV/AIDS patient and an anonymous Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission’s (TRRC) witness yesterday testified, giving accounts of his encounter with former President Yahya Jammeh.

He told the commission that he was first diagnosed with HIV in 1998.

"I got HIV when I was in abroad but I was later advised by a doctor to return to The Gambia. The doctor told me that HIV easily kills people who lack their family support."

He stated that he worked at MRC laboratory as a cleaner before leaving Gambia for a restaurant job abroad. 

He further revealed that after returning to the country, he was tested again for HIV at MRC by Dr. Sabally and he remained positive. He added that by then they used to give him medications and that helped to control his condition. 

"I was told by Dr. Sabally that there was a HIV group called Santa Yallah and I joined them in 1999." 

He said the group was a support group that helped people living with HIV/AIDS and at the time of joining, he added that many people were part of the group.

He said UNDP provided them with support to pay their rents and transport allowances after attending meetings. 

He told the commission that they held their meetings at MRC but because of the stigma and discrimination, they later transferred to former Glory Baptist.

The witness stated that he made his status known to the public because of the manner HIV killed people in Uganda, as watched in a documentary video. He added that he didn't want the same scenario to happen in Gambia and that was the reason why he advised Gambians to know that the virus is in the country.

"I can reveal that the Jammeh HIV treatment secretly started in 2006. There was a day I found bottles of concoction but I didn’t take it. I was advised by my doctor that the conventional medicines and the tradition can’t go together."

He confirmed that he started taking the Jammeh concoction in 2007, saying his health status was improving before joining the alternative treatment.

He testified that there was a time former President Jammeh rubbed a liquid on his body by touching all parts of his body including his private part. He added that both the female and male nurses present did the same to him.

"We were later admitted at Kanifing Hospital for three months before I was admitted at Banjul Hospital for one week. After drinking the concoction given by Jammeh, my stomach pained me for more than three months. Jammeh used to play a game with people with diarrhea during our time of stay."