The return of Yahya Jammeh’s authorised witch hunting exercise has forced some Foni residents to flee to Casamance in Southern Senegal. Most of the fleeing residents belong to Mr. Jammeh’s Jola speaking ethnic group. They fear being invaded by the dictator’s team of witch hunters who forcibly transport their victims to camps and force them to drink deadly concoction. Fear-stricken residents don’t want a repetition of the 2009 scenario which harmed hundreds of innocent people.
The latest development is contained in a message sent to Yoro Jallow of our sister online media Gainako. The message reads: “A sick soldier from Kanfenda was taken to Bwiam hospital where the doctor said it’s a witchcraft so the mad man [Yahya Jammeh] ordered his Green Boys to pick old people who look like witches. Some people in Sintet and Fulakunda have already fled to Sankandi [Kiang West] and Casamance. The mad man [Yahya Jammeh] said in his last meeting in Kalagi that he would clean Foni. So people in Sintet are in fear.“
In November last year, Gambian leader accused Foni Jolas of “eating up their brightest sons” through witchcraft. He vowed to revive his witch hunting exercise, which was sparked off by the sudden death of his [Jammeh’s] aunt in 2009. With the help of soldiers and Green Boys, villagers in Foni and Kombo South were invaded and transported to camps where they forcefully drank locally grown concoction called kubejara, which apparently left some people dead.
Threats of witch hunters fill the air in Dobong where residents run to the bush anytime they hear the sound of a car. Yahya Jammeh’s once most powerful Kujabi brothers – Abdoulie and Mustapha James Kujabi – hail from Dobong.
The witch hunters have already started screening residents of Kanfenda. The terror team, which also comprises of armed military men and idol witch doctors, is reported to have made some arrests in Foni. The team is expected to carry out screening in Kalagi, Sintet, Kampassa, Bondali and Wassadung villages.
Its beats one’s imagination that a leader of an Islamic State would believe in witchcraft, which is totally condemned by Islam.