Fatou Jallow, a 23-year old former beauty queen from The Gambia, told the BBC that she was sodomized by Yaya Jammeh, the country’s former President.
After 22 years in power, Jammeh was ousted by fellow leaders in the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), in January 2017, with Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari playing a pivotal role.
Jallow said the then president had slapped her, injected her with a needle, before,
“He rubbed his genitals in my face, pushed me down to my knees, pulled my dress up and sodomized me.” She said he was tempered into the act because she had earlier rejected a marriage proposal from him. Jallo said the ordeal began when she won a beauty pageant in Banjul, the country’s capital at the age of 18 in 2014. She recounted that Jammeh acted like a father in the months which followed. He gave her gifts and money, as well as getting running water installed in her family home. At a dinner organized by an aide of the president, Jallow said Jammeh now 54, asked her to marry him. She would go on rebuffing other enticements. In June 2015, the said aid insisted that she attends a religious ceremony at State House in her role as a beauty queen.
She said she was taken to Jammeh’s private residence: “It was clear what this was going to be,” she said, remembering the anger in the exiled Jammeh who became president after a military coup when he was 29. Fatou Jallow said she had tried to keep this memory to her self but found it impossible to bury anymore:
“I’ve really tried to hide the story and erase it and make sure it’s not part of me.
“Realistically I couldn’t so I decided to speak now because it is time to tell the story and to make sure that Yaya Jammeh hears what he has done.” She said she also wanted to testify before The Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), which has been set up by President Adama Barrow, who won elections in December 2016, The BBC reports.
“We as a party and The Gambian people are tired of the steady stream of unfounded allegations that have been reported against our ex-president,” Rambo Jatta Ousman, Deputy Leader of Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC, said in a written statement to the BBC in denial ofJallow’s claims.
“The ex-president has no time to react to lies and smear campaigns. He is a very respectable God-fearing and pious leader who has nothing but respect for our Gambian women.”
A former official in the Gambian government who spoke on the condition of anonymity said he remembered seeing Jallow at ‘odd hours’. He also said there were protocol staff, who were mainly women on call to fulfil Jammeh’s fantasies.
This same point of view is held by the Human Rights Watch and Trial international, two organizations gathering evidence of human right violations of the ex-president.
They said Jammeh had a system in place to abuse women, where some were put on the state payroll and worked at State House as so-called “protocol girls”.
The two bodies said the girls had some clerical duties but were mainly on call to have sex with the president.
Yaya Jammeh has been a guest of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo the 36-year long president of Equatorial Guinea, since his exile.