Gambia ex-President accused of sexual abuse

Gambian ex-President Yahya Jammeh. File   | Photo Credit: AP

Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh “handpicked” women whom he would rape or sexually coerce, offering cash, gifts and other privileges in exchange, international rights groups said on Wednesday.

“Yahya Jammeh treated Gambian women like his personal property,” said attorney Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Mr. Jammeh ruled the West African state for 22 years before fleeing to Equatorial Guinea after losing elections to Adama Barrow in December 2016.

Many women testify

An investigation was conducted by HRW and a Swiss NGO, TRIAL international, based on evidence from several women, eight former Gambian officials and several other witnesses. Mr. Jammeh had “protocol girls” who were required to be on call to provide him with sex, according to their report, issued in Dakar, the capital of neighbouring Senegal.

The “protocol girls” were overseen by his cousin, Jimbee Jammeh, who also procured other women for him, the report said. She fled with him to Equatorial Guinea.

Several women have gone on record with their experiences, it said.

Gambia has set up a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), modelled on South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to shed light on Mr. Jammeh’s reign.

“These admirable women broke the culture of silence. It is now crucial that the TRRC and the government give them a path to redress and justice,” said Marion Volkmann-Brandau, who led the research.

“It's time for the 'shame' of rape to switch sides.”

Jammeh is also accused of spiriting away hundreds of millions of dollars — one estimate put it as high as one billion dollars (880 million euros).

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 3:44:26 AM |

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