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A Janjanbureh woman forced to abandon her 1-year old child

The UDP women leader in Janjanbureh, Tata Camara
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Tata Camara, a native of Janjanbureh, was a strong supporter of People’s Progressive Party who later joined the United Democratic Party after the party was formed in 1996.

The UDP women leader in Janjanbureh, Tata Camara

Tata Camara, a native of Janjanbureh, has told the Truth Commission on Monday that she was forced to abandon her 1-year old child after she was arrested by agents of National Intelligence Agency ahead of the 2001 elections.

Tata was a strong supporter of People’s Progressive Party who later joined the United Democratic Party after the party was formed in 1996.

She said after attempts by Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party to persuade her to join their party failed, the party resorted to using NIA agents to intimidate her.

In July 2001, Tata was arrested and taken to Major Bojang, the commissioner of Janjanbureh at the time by one police inspector Kulu Badgie.

Tata was at the time breastfeeding a 1-year 1-month old child.

“They took my child from me and put him on the floor at the police station and took me away,” said Camara, crying. The child would later develop Epilepsy. It is not clear if the child’s sickness was as a result of the mother’s arrest.

Camara said she had not committed any crime and the only thing they asked of her was why she joined the opposition UDP party.

She said the NIA officers would keep her in a very small room with one small window for ventilation. She would sometimes pee on herself.

Sometimes I pee on myself… Even when I want to come out of the prison, I had to persistently knock the door. There was only one small window for ventilation,” said Camara.

Tata was released prior to the 2001 election, after which she was detained illegally for 23 days. She was taken to Dr Sheriff Ceesay who treated her for 2 days before she was discharged to go to Janjanbureh.

Tata’s story is one too many. Part of this session of the TRRC is focusing on the suffering of political opponents under former president Yahya Jammeh.

Several members of the then opposition UDP have appeared to testify about their ordeals under the former ruler. Several UDP members were tortured and disappeared under the 22-year rule of Jammeh.

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