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Truth Commission begins probing Jammeh’s 2009 witch-hunt

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The 8th session of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission began on Monday with continuation of hearing of the student protest in April 2000. The session ends in October.

Gambia’s Truth Commission has collected over 100 statements from victims of Yahya Jammeh’s witch-hunting exercise as the Commission commenced probing an exercise that cost many lives.

Gambia’s former dictator Jammeh allegedly began the witch-hunt in 2009, giving his victims concoctions to drink. Some of his victims reportedly died while some fell ill. According to reports, Jammeh was avenging the death of his aunt, whose death he blamed on witches.

“Between July 6 and 24, teams from the research and investigations department visited Brikama, Sintet, Gunjur, Jambur and Busumbala in the West Coast region to engage communities and obtain statements from victims of the 2009 witch-hunts and other violations,” said chairman Dr Lamin Sise.

“They collected over 140 statements that are being processed in readiness for the Commission hearings under witch-hunt and other violations.”

The Commission resumed its sessions on Monday with hearing of the April 10 and 11 student protest. The protest in 2000 killed 14 students, injuring dozens.

Sise said the investigations unit of the Commission has obtained statements from at least 20 witnesses connected to the protest.

Currently, the Commission is hearing testimonies of student victims but it will also hear testimonies of alleged perpetrator before its session ends in October.

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