By Yankuba Jallow
Ali Jallow a resident of Sintet on Monday, 25th November 2019 told the TRRC how witch doctors descended on their village and abducted villagers.
He said before the 2009 witch-hunt incident, there were two preceding incidents that happened in 2008. He said the first incident involved a marabout from Cassamance called “Tambajiro” who came to the village with armed soldiers including Major Solo Bojang. He said upon entering the village, the strangers entered people’s bathroom and kitchen. He added the strangers had a bag where they put jujus they collected from people’s homes. He said these people claimed they were removing bad jujus from their (natives of Sintet) homes.
He said the marabout returned to the village and the villagers were told that they had visitors at the health center not knowing that the team was led by “Tambajiro”. He said “Tambajiro” put some leaves and powder in a stove and all those present were asked to inhale the smoke coming from the stove. He said this happened in the main yard of the health center and they were all estopped from leaving the premises.
“We were all forced to inhale smoke,” he said.
Jallow said he managed to escape when “Tambajiro” and his men concentrated on a man who wanted to go and fetch his goats because it was getting close to dusk.
He said on Monday, 9th March 2009, Major Solo Bojang and his team escorted witch doctors to Sintet. He said Bojang and the witch doctors abducted about 50 people in their area. He said this was around 1pm towards 2 pm. According to him, the village had a Quranic recitation ceremony that day and a man came to them and indicated to the villagers that some marabouts were in the village. He said they dispersed from the gathering, but heard the sounds of drums.
He said personnel of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) were deployed all over the village and they shielded everywhere. He said the wife of the Imam was abducted. He added that they proceeded to his compound and abducted him. He said the witch-hunter who came to his home was not having a mirror. He said his father was abducted by a police under the instruction of the witch-hunter who came to their home. He said his father was found performing ablution. He said his asthmatic patient grandmother was also abducted and forced to walk by the witch-hunters. He said they captured his elder brother’s wife.
“They captured many people in the village. Almost half of the villagers were captured,” he said.
He said the witch-hunters went to Sintet with Yahya Jammeh’s Green Boys and people in mufti. He said some of these people dressed like magicians.
“Amongst the captured were old men and women,” he said.
He said strangers who came to the village were captured and made to drink concoction. He said all those abducted were taken to the community health center. He said he followed them to the health center and found them slaughtering a goat between two big trees along the highway. He said after the sacrifice, the abducted people were taken to Kanilai.
“My father was among those who drank the concoction,” he said.
He said his father is called Alagie Suteh Jallow, adding that he was abducted on Monday and returned home on Wednesday. He said his father’s release came about after he bribed one of the witch-hunters with an amount of D5000. He said the man he bribed facilitated the release of his father. He said he was initially asked by the witch-hunter to pay him D7000, but when he told him that he could afford D5000, he was asked to come late at night. He said he went to Kanilai around 11 pm and received his father from the witch-hunter he bribed earlier. He said his father was motionless and everyone thought he was dead. He said his father began moving at around 6 am, but he was not in good shape because he was behaving in a silly manner and was out of his psyche.
He said his father died in April 2017. He said before the abduction, his father was a strong man and was able to do things for himself. He told the Commission that after his father drank the concoction, he was taken to different hospitals for treatment, adding that his father was also admitted in a clinic in Dakar. He said his father lost memory because he couldn’t recognize any person. Jallow said those who were abducted together with his father told him that his father fainted several times while he was in the custody of the witch doctors.
“He was always suffering from anemia until he passed away. All my relatives have donated blood to him and there came a time when it was difficult to get blood donation from people. The day my father died, he was vomiting the leaves that he drank. I don’t know what they were given, but I think they were given poison. Since he drank the concoction, he was not himself until he died,” he said.
He said his father was born in 1930.
About His Life
The witness said he completed his schooling in 1993 and that he did not do any further studies. He said he was operating his business in New Yundum in 2009 and that he used to go to the village on every weekend. He said Sintet as a community has four to five clans and they were living in unison and harmony. He added they have different ethnic groups that were living together in peace.