Gambian security agents have once again been accused of inflicting brutality on innocent Gambians. This revelation came to light in the sworn affidavit of a woman detained in connection with the April 14th peaceful protest. Fatoumatta Jawara, the President of the United Democratic Party Female Youth Wing, explained how she had been mercilessly tortured until she fainted. The married mother of three who urinated blood preferred death to being raped by “more than 10 fat men inside that room and they asked them to rape me. I told them I don’t know any man but my husband and it would be better for them to kill me. I would rather die. They stopped.”
Read below the entire shocking story of an innocent woman.
Name: FATOUMATTA JAWARA,
Age: 26 years
Status: Married with 3 children aged 7 years, 4 years and 3 years
On the 14th of April, I went to school to collect my handouts because I had a test the following Friday and Saturday. I attend MDl.
On my way back home, I got out of the commercial vehicle around Westfield. When I got off the vehicle I saw people running from all directions. They were being chased by paramilitary officers.
I didn’t know what was going on. I started running as well. I was chased by one paramilitary officer. Afterwards 3 officers started to chase me. They caught me and threw me inside a truck. They were stamping on me with their feet. There were other people in the truck. The officers were just picking people up and throwing them at the back of the truck.
I asked what was going on. When I asked this question, one of the paramilitary officers slapped me. We were then taken to the PIU in Kanifing. Around 5pm to 6pm on the same day, we were moved to the remand wing of mile two.
They locked us there until around 1-2 am. We were called by prison officers to come out. I thought that they are going to release us but unfortunately we were escorted to the NIA. It was a large number of us. From PIU there were about 27 of us taken to Mile 2.
When we were being taken to NIA, we were taken in different vehicles. I was escorted together with Fatou Camara and some other officers on one vehicle. From there we were taken one by one into a room. I don’t know where they had taken my colleagues. I didn’t see Solo.
I was taken by one tall man who tied his head with a scarf. He just grabbed my back. I could not move. He used my head tie to cover my face, head and mouth. He was speaking to me in Mandinka language and saying “are you UDP, you people are spoilers, you want to destroy this enjoyable regime but we will deal with you guys”.
They took me to one dark place; I cannot tell where I was because my face was covered with my head tie. They undressed me and I was so seriously beaten until I collapsed.
When they stopped beating me they took me to another room. I heard them talking, someone was saying “give her water”. Another person said they should wait because if they give me water, I will die.
They put me on a desk. I sneezed and they said; now she is okay. One of them said to me “Fatou you are a strong hearted woman, we have heard about you but somebody will narrate this to you but you will not narrate it”.
They were speaking to me in both English and Mandinka. From there, they called more than 10 fat men inside that room and they asked them to rape me. I told them I don’t know any man but my husband and it would be better for them to kill me. I would rather die. They stopped.
They wanted to take me to an interview room. I could not walk. They just picked me and threw me in there.
Before I was beaten, just after we arrived at the NIA, they had forced me to give a statement that I was amongst the protestors. I gave the statement before I was beaten. They told me that if I don’t give the statement, “they will take me away”.
I gave a statement. Someone wrote the statement and I signed it. I cannot recognize the men who were beating me. I could see their shadows through my head tie but I would not be able to recognize them.
I was taken to an interview room. There was a video man recording the interviews. When they questioned me, I was trying to answer but I was not very coherent. When they saw this they asked the video man to leave. They gave me water to drink. They asked me if I knew Darboe and I said yes.
There was a first interview before I was beaten. They asked me if I knew Mr. Darboe and if I belong to any political party. I answered yes. They asked if he was part of it and I said no, Mr. Darboe is a law abiding citizen. They told me that I am a position holder in the party. I told them yes and I told them my position. I am the Female Youth Wing President.
They told me that as a position holder such will not happen without your notice. I told them that I didn’t know what is happening. I was just coming from school. That was when they threw me outside the room. Some officers dragged me. When they are beating you, they continuously pour water on you. After the interview, I was taken to a room and thrown on the floor with my wet clothes.
After they beat me, they gave me my wrapper and left me on the ground. I was in the room with Fatou Camara.
When I called the officers, they wouldn’t respond. I was calling out for help. One man then came and asked me what I want. I told him that I want to drink and use the bathroom. He called 2 ladies to assist me. They took me to the toilet with a wheel chair because I could not walk.
They made some hot water to bathe me. They all started crying because of the injuries on my body. After they bathe me, they took me back to the room. I collapsed again. I heard Nogoi Njie crying saying “Fatoumatta has passed away.” I could hear that. Around midday I found myself in a clinic. I saw Fatou Camara. I asked what happened and they told me that I collapsed. The clinic was inside the NlA. I started urinating blood. I was at the clinic for about 13 days. I was urinating blood. It stopped the day before we were taken to Mile 2. There were 2 ladies taking care of us at the clinic. I was bleeding all over.
I told one of the men that even if I had broken the law, they had the responsibility to look after me. That if anything happened to me, they would be responsible. After that they brought in very good medicines so our wounds could be healed before being brought to Court.
Some of the NIA officers were not allowed in the clinic because it was said that they were disclosing our condition over the internet.
3 days before we were taken back to remand, we were moved from the clinic and taken to a cell where we were detained. We only saw people when they came to bring our food. We were taken to Mile 2 last Thursday (28th April 2016). We are at the convict wing because they say remand is full.
Now that we have been taken to remand, we don’t have access to medicine or family. The food they are giving us is very bad and our families don’t have access to bring us food. The Doctor at NIA said we should bathe with hot water because of our injuries. We don’t have access to hot water to bathe with now.
I still have injuries on my body. I have the wrapper that is stained with blood.
We are made to go and greet the Prison officers every morning. Also when the 2no shift come in the afternoon we have to go and greet them. We have been warned that if we don’t greet them, we will know. I don’t know who they are. They are prison officers.
They are not treating us well at Mile 2. They don’t want to assist us. They create problems for anyone who tries to assist us.
I make the above statements to the best of my knowledge information and belief.
SWORN BY THE SAID FATOUMATTA JAWARA
This 11th day of May 2016
A Commissioner For Oaths
High Court of The Gambia
Signed on May 11th 2016
The above statement of Fatoumatta Jawara was taken in the Courtroom on the 4th day of May 2016. This was the first day she was brought before the Court. There were several PIU and other security officers who were in the Court room and who were present during the interview. She was very intimidated by the presence of these security officers some of whom were carrying arms.
She halted several times during the interview to express fear at the fact that they were listening to her interview and could hear what she was saying. She also expressed fear of the consequences of giving the statement and whether she would experience more torture when she returns to the Central Prisons at Mile 2.
She showed me the scars on her body from the beatings and torture she suffered whilst under detention at the National intelligence Agency (NlA). There were several scars visible on her legs and back. She also complained that her she felt that she might have internal injuries due to the fact that she had been urinating blood and that she was still feeling a lot of pain particularly around her abdominal region.
FEMALE LAWYER’S ASSOCIATION – THE GAMBIA