Due to circumstances I haven’t posted any article on this site for nearly four weeks. The reason for this silence on my part was certainly not the lack of ritual murder cases reported in this period. In the past four weeks African newspapers reported on ritual murder cases and related ritualistic acts in a number of SSA countries, notably in the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe (in chronological order), with Nigeria leading this ugly list and Zimbabwe ranking second.
Having said this, two observations merit specific mentioning. First, as the list shows, the countries mentioned are all English-speaking countries (a heritage of their colonial past). This creates a distortion in the observation or analysis with a bias creating the impression that in non-anglophone countries ritual murders would not occur. Far from that! It is just a consequence of the fact that the collection of articles and reports on these heinous acts based on superstition is too narrow based. I have also reported this problem in a distinct section of this site (see under ‘Methodology’).
Secondly, and as I have also repeatedly stated on this site, we must fear that reported ritual killing cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Many cases of disappeared children, men and women remain unresolved, the bodies of the victims have successfully been hidden by the murderers. The effort of perpetrators to wipe out all traces of their crimes reveals an important aspect of nowadays ritualistic murders. The murderers know very well that their act is illegal, and constitutes one of the worst crimes one can imagine: to take the life of an innocent person for personal gains. Ritualistic acts may have been based originally – in the past – on traditional beliefs serving the interests of a community, in the course of the 20th century these practices have become criminal activities fed by a desire to become rich, famous or another selfish goal.
A Gambian businessman, Sillibah Samateh, testifying before the nation’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission has accused former Gambia dictator-president Yahya Jammeh of sacrificing babies for ritualistic purposes. Is it a lie, a phantasy or the truth?
The fact that I have decided to include here Mr. Samateh’s testimony before Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) is no approval of his allegations and accusations implicating the former dictator who was chased out of his country in January 2017. Jammeh was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea where he now lives, with the millions he stole before boarding the plane that brought him to the republic whose president is Africa’s longest ruling president, Teodoro Obiang. Equatorial Guinea has one of the worst human rights records in the world.
Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh – his full name being Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh – seized power in a military coup in 1994 and ruled the tiny West African republic with an iron fist during more than 20 years. Thousands of his opponents died or disappeared during his dictatorship. He has been accused of numerous human rights violations, murders, killing migrants, shooting students, arbitrary arrests, suppression of the press, corruption, rape, witch hunting campaigns – the list of accusations and crimes is even much longer. From this point of view the allegations made by Mr. Samateh gain some credibility, but – as I have repeatedly said in this place – ‘nobody is guilty unless found guilty by an independent, impartial judge after a public, transparent trial‘.
Therefor, I present the allegations without comments. I don’t say they are true, I don’t say they are not true. I only say that the accusations have to been proven (webmaster FVDK).
Gambia: Exiled Gambian dictator accused of stealing babies from hospitals for ritualistic purposes; Jammeh’s supporters reject accusations
Published: December 9, 2020 By: Freedom Newspaper
A Gambian businessman has accused the former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh of sacrificing newborn babies for ritualistic purposes. He says the babies were taken from hospitals and sacrificed. Sillaba Samateh made the allegations before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on Tuesday. As Pa Nderry Mbai reports from Raleigh, North Carolina, Jammeh’s supporters are denying the allegations.
Speaking before an interpreter businessman Sillaba Samateh claimed that he learned about Jammeh’s alleged babies’ ritual while he was under detention at the National Intelligence Agency in Banjul. Samateh said he himself was being used to transport the stolen babies into the office of the late NIA Director General Numo Kujabi.
The two former security officers Samateh named in his testimony Nfanli Jabang and Numo Kujabi have died.
“You know the seriousness of this accusations. That the President of this country, was taking babies from hospitals and take them to prison to Kanilai for human sacrifice,” Lead Counsel Essa Faal told Mr. Samateh.
Samateh still stands by his story. He says Jammeh was allegedly killing babies for ritual purposes.
Samateh was held at the NIA on drug trafficking related charges. He later jumped bail and fled to Holland.
He claimed that while at the NIA, he was often asked to pick up dead bodies and put them in body bags.
Dodou Jah is the Deputy Spokesman for the former ruling APRC party.
“If these allegations were true, where are the parents of those kids, they have relatives, knowing for example, my wife is pregnant, goes to the hospital to deliver, we are expecting a baby. Even if my wife happens to pass away, but the baby belongs to the family, if the family doesn’t see it, the hospital is responsible. And these are issues that cannot go under the carpet, the media would be in the epicenter of it and this news is going to spread, but how come no such story ever emerged,” Mr. Jah said.
Jah says Samateh’s claims should be treated with pinch of salt. He added that witnesses should testify the truth and stop making baseless allegations against Yahya Jammeh.
“Not I don’t trust the TRRC, but some of the revelations I don’t know what to believe and the lead counsel is proving to them that they are lying. A witness comes to the TRRC and the lead counsel is telling them you are lying, but people want me to believe what they are saying. You know until somebody said it is red, another said it is black, I am asking who do I have to believe,” Mr. Jah remarked.
Samsudeen Sarr is the former Gambian Ambassador to the United Nations. Sarr is also a sympathizer of the APRC party.
“If thing of that nature as gruesome that is, would have been talked about everywhere in this country. So, I have serious doubts as to the credibility of the story of Sillaba Samateh,” Sarr remarked.
Sarr says Sillaba’s reputation is questionable. He is not convinced that Samateh was being truthful to the Commission.
“His reputation in this country has not been very good. You that, you know better than I do, Sillaba’s name it was not associated with good things in the past and since the change of government, he has been trying to sanitize his name and join the Barrow government,” Sarr added.
Lead Counsel Essa Faal says given the seriousness of Samateh’s allegations; it is important for the Commission’s Investigation team to investigate the matter.
Samateh was in tears while giving evidence. He claimed that one of the NIA officers Omar Cham had even threatened to rape his wife while they were being held there.
In another development, a former NIA detainee, who wished not to be named has dismissed Sillaba’s claims. He has accused Samateh of lying to the TRRC.
“We were detained at the same location at the NIA. No babies were brought to the NIA for ritual sacrifices. That was a figment of Sillaba’s own imagination. I am calling you, because I feel that he was untruthful to the Commission,” he said.
“As you rightly pointed out in your radio show, Numo Kujabi and Nfanli Jabang are not alive to substantiate his allegations. He is using the death to sell a false story,” the caller added.
The big news of this article is NOT what its heading suggests. I have no doubt, president Barrow is speaking the truth. However, the real meaning of this article – and that’s why I include it here – is that it underscores one of my firm beliefs: “Ritual killings are a – daily – reality in many African countries”. If ritual killings would never occur in the Gambia, this rumor would not have existed. The fact alone that the president of the Gambia finds it necessary to publicly deny any involvement in the ritual killing of his son, says a lot about what’s in peoples’ mind in the Gambia. Also, apparently, the (supposed) link between presidential elections and ritual killing is a logical one, also in the Gambia.
Ritualistic killings, superstition and rumors thrive where there is lack of education and proper information. Hence the key to a better future lies in a better education, accessible to all.
President Barrow denies killing his son for ritual purposes to become president
Adama Barrow won the 2016 presidential election, defeating eccentric dictator Yahya Jammeh (1994 – 2017). Jammeh refused to recognize his defeat and Barrow fled to Senegal. After a diplomatic ECOWAS intervention Jammeh was forced to go into exile. Barrow returned to the Gambia on January 26, 2017 and was installed as Gambia’s third president since independence in 1965.
President Adama Barrow has denied reports attributed to him that he allegedly killed his son for ritual purposes so that he can be elected into office as Gambia’s President. The president made the denial through his Press Director Amie Bojang Sissoho, who addressed a news conference on Wednesday at the President’s office in Banjul. This followed, a statement made by President Barrow, during a recent visit to Faraba Banta, where he was quoted as having said that he (Barrow) had to sacrifice his own son, wealth, and life in order for The Gambia to be freed from Jammeh’s twenty-two years dictatorship. Barrow was in Faraba last week to sympathize with the bereaved families, whose loved ones were killed by Gambia’s police intervention unit— the (PIU).
“ When he lost his son, is because he left the Gambia, as president elect. When his son died, he had to leave the children behind. If he was not the president, he would not have done that at that point in time; he wouldn’t have left his family behind. That is what he was trying to explain; that even he has lost his family, but he had to move on because he has taken a responsibility of serving the country,” State House Press Director Amie Bojang Sissoho clarified.
Mr. Barrow’s statement attracted a huge reaction on social media. Many Gambians were taken aback by Barrow’s statement, in which he allegedly made the appearance that he sacrificed his son for ritual purposes to become the country’s President. But the State House was quick to dismiss such reports saying that the President’s statement was being blown out of proportion. It also says Barrow’s statement was being interpreted out of context.
“We have to understand things into context. And remember that when people are in a difficult situation; we have to understand how, and what was the context in which things happened. And this was what simply he was trying to explain. And that is simply what he was trying to explain. That in a process, anything could happen. This is what happened; these lives were loss because of a cause; to show that even he himself lost his child because of a cause. His child died,” Mrs. Bojang Sissoho further clarified.
Mr. Barrow’s son was bitten by a stray dog, and he died in the process. Barrow and his two wives were in Dakar, Senegal, at the time of the incident. His son was buried in his absence.
Mr. Barrow left the Gambia for Mali, to attend a regional Summit over Gambia’s political impasse. He later resettled in Dakar, Senegal, in the wake of the country’s month long political impasse. Former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh had refused to concede defeat during Gambia’s December 2016 Presidential elections, which had thrown the impoverished West African country into a state of turmoil.
“And it was difficult time. We all know that..; when his son died, he was president elect; he was not sworn in; he left the country, but that did not stop him to move on. It is not that he did not feel it; what he was trying to say is that we have our difficult times, but we have to move on as a country,” Mrs Bojang Sissoho told journalists.
“I think people have to calm down on receiving information. What the president was emphasizing was that; we all have lost somebody for the sake of the Gambia; We have been either directly or indirectly affected,” she added.