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Jammeh accused of ordering 7 months detention of couple

Nov 10, 2020, 11:03 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Fatou Sonko, a witness yesterday testified before the TRRC, revealing that former President Yahya Jammeh had ordered the arrest of both her and her spouse Essa Sonko.

Born in Mbangkanu in the North Bank Region, she disclosed that her arrest was in January 2015. She narrated that one day while she was in the compound, a vehicle parked beside her compound gate and the passengers came in and asked for both of them.

"I told them he went for prayers and upon arrival they told him that they came to arrest us. They said they were coming from Amdallai and they will only take us for questioning in Barra Police Station. They later took us to Banjul at NIA headquarters and we were told that Yahya Jammeh ordered for our arrest."

She said they were arrested along with Olimatou Corr, Biran Sarr, Mariama Njie and Meita

Upon detention at the NIA, she stated that they asked her whether Dawda Bojang is her son and she replied in the positive, and they further asked whether they communicated with him. 

"They told us if we didn’t give them the information they want, then they will keep us there. We were kept in detention for seven months. In terms of our feedings, they used to feed us with empty bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner."

She added that her son Dawda was an ex-soldier but based in Germany.

She told the commission that she didn’t know the reason why she was detained.

"When I was detained at the NIA, I got to know Saidy Bah, Yabou, Sheikh Omar and Jarju, who were officers. During the time of our detention, we were allowed only three times to move out of our rooms."

Witness testified that all of her colleagues detained at the NIA fell sick during detention.

According to Counsel Mariama Singhateh, in the Amnesty reports about the December 30th 2014 coup, about 30 people including a 16-year old boy were arrested due to the alleged involvement of their sons or relatives in the plot.

She added that Fatou Sonko and her husband were detained due to the alleged involvement of their son during the 2014 coup plot.

Mrs. Sonko, however, further stated that at sometime during their detention, they were informed about their release but Jammeh ordered that if they talked about the reason for their detention, then they will be re-arrested.

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