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Foni Sintet: ‘13 died’ after drinking concoction of Jammeh’s witch doctors

Karamo Sanneh

On Monday, the Truth Commission begins its hearing in Sibanor, a settlement in Foni about 29 minutes drive from Kanilai, the village of the former President Yahya Jammeh.


Karamo Sanneh

At least 13 people have died in Foni Sintet following the drinking of a concoction administered to so-call witches and wizards in March 2009, said Karamo Sanneh on Monday.

Sanneh is a native of Kiang Madina who has come to settle in Sintet in 1970. In March, 2009, the old man was involved in a group of people who were captured in Sintet and accused of being witches and wizards.

Sanneh told the Truth Commission on Monday that dozens of people were arrested from Sintet and taken to Kanilai in a bus and a military truck to be given a concoction.

“After drinking the medicine, I had no idea where I was until the following morning… I was made to drink one litre and a half. The one I was bathed with is very smelly,” said Sanneh.

According to Sanneh, there was a chaos in the village when the information spread that witch doctors were in the village. Dozens of villagers who could escape ran into bushes while some crossed the border into Casamance.

He was not lucky and with him, dozens of people. They have found him at his compound gate and captured him.

Sanneh said escorting the witch doctors were Green Boys, a civilian vigilante group operating on the orders of the former President Jammeh.

But also accompanying the witch doctors were soldiers who were led by Major Solo Bojang, a member of Jammeh’s hit squad call the Junglers.

“As far as I can remember, about 13 people died after drinking the concoction. One of them is my elder brother’s wife. Since she drank the concoction, she never said a word until she died,” said Sanneh.

Also a victim of the activities of the witch doctors was Ali Jallow. Jallow’s father Alagie Sutay Jallow was captured in Sintet and, like Sanneh, taken to Kanilai to be given a concoction.

Jallow told the Truth Commission on Monday that he had stories that his father fainted after drinking the concoction they were given.

He father was capture on a Monday and they would not release him until Thursday. Even that Jallow said he had to pay D5000 to get his father released.

“When he came home, he did not recognize us. He was asking us to return him to the house,” said Jallow. Several victims of the witch doctors have complained of hallucinations as an effect of their deadly dose of concoction.

“The day I lost my father was the day they gave him that poison… He was vomiting leaves. Every two weeks, I would take him to hospital. I even had to take him to Dakar for treatment. He never got well until he died in April, 2017,” said Jallow.

According to both witnesses, the witch doctors were asking them to confessed people they have killed. “I told them I have not eaten anybody,” said Sanneh.

According to them, that was not an answer they would take.

“… They just wanted people to confess and some of our people told them they have eaten people, some of whom were alive. They were freed,” said Jallow.

The TRRC is in its third week of hearing into the activity of the witch doctors. This is the only segment that the Commission takes to various communities that are severely affected. The last week session was held in Jambur and next week will be Essau in Nuimi.

Several victims of the witch hunting have died while dozens are also complaining of health complications including body aches, excessive headaches, hypertension and blurring vision.


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