Ensa Badgie, the former chief of the Gambia police, has told the Truth Commission on Wednesday that the witch hunting that happened in several places in the country in 2009 was on the orders of former president Yahya Jammeh.
It is not clear why the former President started the witch hunting exercise. However, he had reportedly lost two of his close protection officers, Tumbul Tamba and Musa Jammeh.
According to Mustapha Ceesay, a police officer who fell victim to the witch hunting, Jammeh blamed the deaths of his close protection officers on witches.
Then he hired witch doctors. According to Ceesay, on January 13 and 14, the police headquarters was stormed by the witch doctors.
Badgie was the Inspector General of Police at the time. He said he received a phone from the former leader informing him that some witch doctors will be visiting the police headquarters.
“Comply with it, and if you don’t comply your head will roll. And if anyone does not comply, make sure the person is sacked. Then within 10 to 15 minutes after the phone call, the marabouts arrived in my office,” said Badgie.
He said he was angry but he had no choice. According to his narrations, the witch doctors started their day’s process at his own office. They would later tell him that he is okay after minutes of dancing, chanting and drumming.
Whatever it was they were chanting, Badgie had no idea.
This is the third day of Commission’s hearing into the witch hunting which affected several communities in the country. Already, three police officers, Ken Mendy, Abdou Colley and Mustapha Ceesay, have testified. Ceesay was a victim of the witch hunting with about 39 other policemen.
Following their identification as witches, Ceesay said Badgie had ordered them to follow the so-call witch doctors to be cured of their sickness. Several police officers were taken to Baba Jobe’s compound and given hallucinogenic concoctions.
Ceesay declined to go to Baba’s compound. But he said he was later demoted by Badgie to the lowest rank in the police, First Class Constable and transferred to Fatoto, the remotest part of the Gambia.
However, Badgie said he did not willingly victimize Ceesay. He said it was an order of former president Jammeh that all those who did not comply with the witch doctors should be sacked.
He said he did not comply with the orders to sack that was why he had to demote Ceesay and take him farther to safe himself.
There were media reports that several people have died as a result of the witch hunting.
According to Ceesay, the witch hunting happened at many institutions including the army, National Intelligence Agency and the prisons departments.