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Alleged Victim of Gender-Based Violence Shares Heartbreaking Testimony in Court

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Defendant Yugo Sowe

By Landing Ceesay 

Amie Sowe, a resident of Jalambang, recounted her harrowing experience in court as her husband, Yugo Sowe—also known as Gorgi Sowe—faces charges for allegedly mutilating her hands and legs.

The Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, through the Director of Public Prosecution, has brought multiple charges against Yugo Sowe. These include Attempted Murder (contrary to Section 200, Criminal Code), Domestic Violence (contrary to Section 17(2), Domestic Violence Act), Grievous Harm (contrary to Section 214, Criminal Code), Acts Intended to Cause Grievous Harm (contrary to Section 212, Criminal Code), and wounding (contrary to Section 217, Criminal Code).

According to the prosecution, on November 16, 2023, in Brikama Jalambang, West Coast Region of the Gambia, Yugo Sowe attempted to kill Amie Sowe by attacking her with a cutlass, resulting in severe injuries to her legs, arms, and other parts of her body.

Testifying as the third prosecution witness (PW3), Amie Sowe shared that she had been married to Yugo Sowe for 23 years, and they had seven children together—five boys and two girls. She described the difficulties in their marriage, recounting a significant conflict that arose over a land issue.”Marriage is Marriage, but every marriage has its difficulty. I have a big problem with him (Yugo Sowe). It started with a land issue. I traveled to my village and upon returning, I found that he (Yugo Sowe) sold my land. I started complaining, and he told me that the person who gave me the land wanted to marry me, but that’s not the case. Because the person who gave me the land is my uncle. I complained to my mother, she advised me to leave the land with him because we are related. I took my mother’s advice for the sake of God.

“I then went to my village and he (Yugo Sowe) sent a message that he had divorced me, and he also sold my cows. When I enquired about the cows, he told me he sold the cows. I called my mother to judge between us. When my mother came, she told him (Yugo Sowe) that you sold her land and I asked her to bear and she agreed and now her cows. My mother told him (Yugo Sowe) that he should be the one who should build me up and not destroy me. He (the accused) told my mother that the reason he sold the cow was because he didn’t want the cow to die. I told him he shouldn’t have sold the cow,” Amie Sowe, narrated to the court while sitting in a wheelchair. 

Amie Sowe testified in court that Yugo Sowe had divorced her three times, and since then, she has not found peace.

She further stated that even after the three pronounced divorces, the issues between her and Yugo Sowe persisted.

Amie recounted that although people told her Yugo Sowe was angry, they insisted she was still his wife despite the three divorces.

“Can you tell the court what you meant that you don’t have peace with him after the issue of the cows?” State Counsel M. Singahteh asked Amie Sowe. 

 “Like I said, he (Yugo Sowe) divorced me three times and people said I could not go like that. He was given land for free in the Bush, and he took me and my children to that compound in the Bush (Forest). When I was there in the bush (Forest), when he came there, I told him (Yugo Sowe) that I was no longer his wife because he divorced me three times. He responded that unless I left the compound, as long as I was in the compound he would come and sleep with me.

“He (Yugo Sowe) added that the only way is when I leave the compound. I told him that I could not leave my children behind. I told him (Yugo Sowe) that he had divorced me three times and many people witnessed that, but he kept coming to the house at night and this continued for three years. When he stops the problems, he will come to the compound and tell me that a particular part of the compound belongs to my co-wife (Dado),” Amie Sowe testified. 

Amie Sowe told the court that her co-wife (Dado), lives in her compound that was sold by her husband, Yugo Sowe. While she lives in the bush with her 7 children. 

“What is the condition of the compound in the bush?” Counsel Singahteh asked. 

“Hardship, the place is lonely it was only me and my children, the place is dangerous,” Amie Sowe told the court. 

Amie Sowe told the court that her marriage with the accused person, Yugo Sowe was met with hardship and provocation. 

“You told the court that during the three years you were living in the bush (Forest), the accused person (Yugo Sowe) came to the compound and identified a certain portion saying it belonged to your co-wife (Dadoo)?” Counsel Singahteh asked Amie Sowe. 

“That’s where the problem began because I told him (Yugo Sowe) that Dadoo has no share in the compound. Because where Dadoo lives is bigger than where I live. The accused (Yugo Sowe) said if I didn’t stop saying Dadoo didn’t have a share in the compound, he would kill me. I told him to kill me because Dadoo didn’t have a share in the compound. He (Yugo Sowe) said that he would sell the property when he had a customer,” Amie Sowe told the court. 

“Why do you respond in that manner?” Counsel Singahteh asked Amie Sowe again. 

“Because I have children, the accused (Yugo Sowe) brought three customers and I know them by name. One was Momodou Jallow, Jawara, and Ebrima Bah who was our chairman and Alkalo of the village. When I told him (Yugo Sowe) that I talked to Ebrima Bah about my condition and that Ebrima would not come again to buy the compound. He (Yugo Sowe) then told me that he would kill me if he didn’t sell the land. I asked him why would he kill me when I was not even talking about the compound he sold,” Amie Sowe told the court. 

Amie also informed the court that there was a period when Yugo Sowe did not come to the compound for three weeks. When she called him on the phone, he told her that he was sick.

“Then I told my children that their father said he was sick, to go and visit him for me. I told my son also you are on your way to school but when you close you can go to your father’s house and see how he is feeling,” Amie told the court.

“At what time of the day did you ask the children to go and see their father?” Counsel Singahteh asked. 

“It was in the morning, I told my son. My daughter is married around that end, I told her as well,” Amie Sowe told the court. 

Hon. Justice Ebrima Jaiteh then adjourned the case to the 3rd of June 2024 for continuation.

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