People are being rounded up and taken away to no one knows where – their crime? They are being accused of being “witches.” As we speak, residents of this sleepy town of Sintet are running helter-skelter for their dear lives, some have already arrived in the Cassamance village of Sankandi, located in Senegal. No, we are not talking about the movie Harry Porter, and this is not a movie script. All this is unfolding in The Gambia, part of a catastrophic human rights regime not seen in this world for generations.
Apparently, medical doctors in the Gambia can diagnose witchcraft, if a disease or ailment of that sort exists in the first place. A soldier recently got sick in the Western Region village of Kamfenda and taken to Bwiam Hospital where doctors diagnosed his condition as witchcraft related. Because of this, President Yahya Jammeh sent fully armed soldiers to go around the Fonnis (the district where the village is located) to arrest “witches”. This latest act of brutality is the second episode of a similar move in the past when, due to Jammeh’s aunt’s death, he ordered soldiers to go and arrest anyone suspected of being a “witch”. A thousand people, most of whom were elderly got arrested during that mayhem – a number of whom died due to the beatings, humiliations, rape, and forced drinking of a concoction of a disgusting liquid.
As part of his mad scheme to mystify himself, President Jammeh has been telling Gambians in this part of the Gambia that there are a lot of witches in the area, but that he will deal with them. At a recent meeting during his “Meet The People Tour”, he declared that it was unacceptable that all good sons of Fonni are dying because of witchcraft. He declared during that speech that all the witches should get ready because he is about to embark on a war against them. He therefore warned them to desist from casting their evil spells on the sons of Fonnis forthwith or he will be forced to act. He repeated the witchcraft narrative in the coastal town of Bakau during the same tour.
Observers are raising the issue that this seems to be a repeat of the last witch hunts, and that the move also contradicts Jammeh’s declaration of The Gambia an Islamic State since Islam doesn’t recognize witchcraft. “He is on one hand sending directives instructing women to wear headscarf to work as part of the Islamic tradition, while arresting people for being “witches”, this doesn’t make any sense” One of them said in confusion. But this after all is The Gambia where nothing makes sense.
We will be following this story and will update our readers accordingly.