Witness Challenges TRRC to Do Something about Her Perpetrator
Witness, Binta Kuyateh, challenges the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission to “do something” about her alleged perpetrator, who is the former Governor of Central River Region Nganyie Touray, for ordering her illegal imprisonment.
Hailing from the rural town of Brikama-Ba, more than 200km from Banjul, Binta Kuyateh was detained at the Jangjangbureh prisons for 23 days without any formal charges against her. According to Kuyateh, she was a former supporter of the then ruling-party APRC before joining the United Democratic Party (UDP). Ahead of the National Assembly elections of 2012, which UDP boycotted, she attended a rally organized by the APRC to listen to political messages where she got arrested.
“A para-military officer came to me and told me that they’ve asked him to arrest me. I asked him what I have done…They took me to Brikama-Ba police station where I was detained up to 10pm. I was later taken to Bansang where some other people were added onto me.”
Binta, 63, was later taken to Commissioner Ngaynie Touray’s office in Jangjangbureh where a brief discussion was held.
“I was taken to the governor’s office where I met Ngaynie Touray and his deputy Malang Saibo Camara. The Governor told me that he was the one who instructed the police to arrest me. In that discussion, he told me that it will take a long time before I can see the sunlight again. He later ordered them to take me to Jangjangbureh prisons and put me inside the cell. He didn’t tell me anything about why he ordered for my arrest and detention. I was suffering a lot and I always do what they asked me to do.”
Kuyateh goes on to state that the cell she was held in was heavily infested with insects due to a bucket in the cell which was filled with human feces. She recalled a visit made by her husband who was manhandled by prison officers, which she believes later lead to his untimely death, “…from then on, my husband never regain his health until his death in the next four years”.
“While still in the cell, one day I wanted to take shower because I was so dirty and my body parts were all with feces so I requested to take shower. The prison officer was standing near me as I wanted to take shower. I asked him to stay away because he was so small to see me naked. But he refused and said that’s a lawful practice. I had to come back to cell without taking my bath”.
For the next 23 days of her detention, Binta said she did not bathe until her release, when her family members accompanied her to Sapu River to clean her up.
She reflects upon another instance when the then deputy governor, Malang Saibo, demanded that she sing and dance for him, “I told him that here is not a singing and dancing ground. So I was taken back to the cell”.
Kuyateh claims that she was never allowed to use the toilet outside as she continued to use the bucket that was placed inside the cell. “I always do it in the cell. Feces was stain on all parts of my body. But I rarely had the feeling to go to the toilet because I do not easily eat. I normally take water. In fact there was a day my heart couldn’t contain the nasty environment and I started vomiting but nothing was coming out I have not been eating anything”.
In her address to the TRRC, she strongly appealed and to the commissioners to bring her perpetrator to justice. “May God forbid us to have this kind of Governor and the government. Help me with Ngaynie situation. He suffocated me. Ngaynie made me suffer. Please help me, you the truth speakers”.
According to Kuyateh, after her release, she was later held at Brikama-ba Police Station for four months without knowing the charges against her and was kept from speaking in court.