Witch Doctors let loose in the Gambia

According to a UN report (IRIN) and Amnesty International, people are living in fear of their lives in The Gambia. I visited The Gambia on a few occasions. It always struck me as a relatively peaceful place. Tourists travel there in large numbers for cheap beach hotels, cheaper than the nearby Canary Islands. The UN agency report is disturbing.

Arbitrary kidnappings and beatings of citizens in The Gambia, allegedly involving President Yaya Jammeh’s forces, signal a deterioration of human rights, says Amnesty International.

Up to 1,000 people have been kidnapped by ‘witch doctors’ – from Guinea, rights activists say – since early February and taken to detention centres or to the President’s farm in Kanilai, accompanied by the President’s personal protection guards, the police and the army, according to an Amnesty International communiqué released on 18 March.

Amnesty says in its communiqué that witch doctors were invited to Gambia in early 2009 soon after the death of President Jammeh’s aunt; the President reportedly believes witchcraft was used in her death.

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