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Beauty queen speaks out on ‘rape ordeal’ by ex-President

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A 23-year-old former beauty queen in The Gambia, Toufah Jallow, has said she was raped in 2015 by ex-President Yahya Jammeh when he was in office.

Her testimony is part of a Human Rights Watch and Trial International report that details another alleged rape and sexual assault by Mr Jammeh.

The BBC tried to contact Mr Jammeh, who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea, about the allegations.

A spokesman for his APRC party denied the accusations made against Mr Jammeh.

“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,” said Ousman Rambo Jatta, in a written statement to the BBC.

“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,” the deputy APRC leader said.

Ms Jallow told the BBC she wanted to meet Mr Jammeh, 54, in court so he could face justice.

“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 Yayha 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 TTRC is investigating human rights violations alleged to have been committed during Mr Jammeh’s 22-year rule, including reports of extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary detention.

He was forced from office in January 2017 after regional powers sent in troops when he refused to give up power.

‘MARRIAGE REFUSAL’

Ms Jallow said she was 18 when she met Mr Jammeh after winning a beauty pageant in 2014 in the capital, Banjul.

In the months following her coronation, she said the former president acted as a father figure when they met, offering her advice, gifts and money, and also organising for running water to be installed in her family home.

Then at a dinner organised by an aide to thePpresident, she says he asked her to marry him. She refused and rebuffed other enticements from the aide to agree to the offer.

Ms Jallow said the aide then insisted she attend a religious ceremony at State House in her role as beauty queen in June 2015. But when she arrived, she was taken to the President’s private residence.

“It was clear what this was going to be,” she said, describing Mr Jammeh’s anger at her for rejecting him.

Ms Jallow says he slapped her and injected her in her arm with a needle.

“He rubbed his genitals in my face, pushed me down to my knees, pulled my dress up and sodomised me.”

‘PROTOCOL GIRLS’

The young woman says afterwards she locked herself at home for three days and then decided to flee to neighbouring Senegal.

Once in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, Ms Jallow sought the assistance of various human rights organisations. Weeks later, she was approved protection status and moved to Canada, where she has been living since.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Trial International say Mr 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”, who had some clerical duties but were mainly on call to have sex with the President.

The BBC could not verify the allegation, but a former Gambian official, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said he was aware of “inappropriate things” happening at the presidency: “Protocol staff were mostly women and they were hired to satisfy the President’s fantasies.”

He remembered seeing Ms Jallow at State House, sometimes at “odd hours”.

Another woman, hired as a protocol officer at the age of 23, told HRW she was forced to have sex with Mr Jammeh in 2015.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said that one day the president called her into his room: “He started undressing me and saying that he was in love with me, that he will do anything for me and my family, that I should not tell anyone because if I do I will face the consequences.

“I felt I had no choice. That day he slept with me without protection.”

‘HONOUR’

Another woman who worked as a protocol officer said that they knew if one of them was called it was for sex.

“Some wanted it. They felt honoured or wanted the money,” she told HRW on condition of anonymity.

She described how she was sexually assaulted by the President at his summer house, Kanilai, in 2013 when she was 22: “One evening, a presidential aide called me and told me to come with her to the president’s private apartment. He asked me to undress.

“He told me that I was young and needed protection so he wanted to apply spiritual water on me.”

In an encounter the next day, she started crying as Mr Jammeh began to touch her body. He became angry and sent her away.

She says she was later sacked and a promised scholarship cancelled.

TRRC’S FOCUS

The TRRC’s mission is to establish a record of abuses committed during Mr Jammeh’s 22-year rule when it is alleged there were arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and torture against critics

Its 11 independent commissioners can grant reparations to victims.

Backed by the UN and funded by international donors, it began hearing testimonies in November 2018. Its motto is “Never again”.

TRRC’s Executive Secretary Baba Jallow has told the BBC that the commission, launched eight months ago, will focus on sexual violence in September.

“We are aware of allegations involving Jammeh but we have not heard victims on the record yet. Investigations have already started but at this stage we can’t say who is involved and how many victims there are,” he said.

Ms Jallow wants to create an atmosphere where women will feel safer to talk about rape and sexual assault: “It’s a step-by-step thing and the first part is to acknowledge it happened.

“When many other women speak up and it becomes safer and safer,” she told the BBC.

President Barrow has said he will await the report of the TRRC before considering whether to pursue Mr Jammeh’s extradition from Equatorial Guinea.

Source:nairobinews

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Africa

Kabuga will pay for my son’s death, woman says

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“Kabuga will pay for the death of my son. He must pay.”

These are the words of a mother who has been grieving for 17 years.

For Ms Lydia Wangui and the family of William Mwaura Munuhe, there is now a ray of hope following the arrest of Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga.

Mr Munuhe, a freelance journalist and close associate of Kabuga, was one of the closest links the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had in its quest to capture one of the world’s most wanted fugitives back in 2003.

COLD BLOODED MURDER

But days before he could help FBI agents lure Kabuga into a trap, Mr Munuhe was murdered in cold blood in his house in Nairobi.

That would mark the beginning of a 17-year pursuit for truth and justice.

With the arrest of the man believed to be behind their kin’s death, the family now can afford a sigh of relief. But justice is far from being found.

The Nation tracked down the family at their home in Muruguru, Nyeri County.

Ms Wangui is just coming to terms with news of Kabuga’s arrest in France two days ago. For her, it is a mixture of both joy and a painful reminder of her son’s death.

PAIN STILL FRESH

“I could not believe it when I heard that he has been arrested. But the pain is still fresh in my heart. I suffered for a very long time and I continue to feel the pain of having to bury my child. Now it is his turn to suffer,” she said.

For 17 years, this family has pursued justice over their son’s brutal murder, knocking on every door that had power to help and when all offices locally became unresponsive, they sought help overseas.

The family has already sought help from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague but even that has not helped serve them justice.

It has been a long journey filled with anguish, lies and betrayal.

DANGEROUS

So dangerous was the pursuit for the truth and justice that even Mr Munuhe’s father, a former police officer who died in 2013, could not dare ask questions to his colleagues and superiors regarding his son’s death.

On February 16, 2003, detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) visited their home in Nyeri with the news of their son’s death. They said that the journalist had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. This was the first lie that was given to the family.

“When we went to his house in Karen, they did not even want us to get in. But I demanded to see for myself where he had died. They had already taken the body away,” Ms Wangui said.

She recounted seeing bloody footprints across the living room of the house and her son’s belongings scattered on the floor. Initially, police told her that his body was found on a mattress soaked with sweat.

BLOODY SCENE

Scenes from Mr Munuhe’s guest room told a different story and it turned out that the said sweat was actually blood.

“There was a lot of blood on the floor and the bed was broken. All I could think of is how my son suffered a painful death,” she said.

Mr Munuhe’s brother, Josephat Mureithi, was among those who positively identified the body at the City Mortuary. He said that his face had been badly disfigured, possibly from acid burns.

Mr Mureithi has been at the forefront in the fight for justice for his slain brother and feels that Kabuga’s arrest, though significant, is still far from giving the family complete closure.

He still lives in fear of Kabuga’s accomplices. Even with the outlaw in custody, he feels someone is still watching.

“Even journalists who tried asking us about our brother’s death received threats. There is a letter that we found while moving his belongings threatening that we would be killed one after the other. We have always lived in fear and still live in fear because his (Kabuga’a) accomplices are still at large,” Mr Mureithi said.

WRITTEN TO ICC

Mr Mureithi has written to the ICC and now wants his brother’s murder investigated by The Hague-based court and for Kabuga to stand trial.

“I wrote to the ICC and they said that his case would be placed in the archives until new evidence is found. Now is the time to look into the matter,” he said.

While Kabuga might not stand trial for the murder of Munuhe, his family believes the ICC will help deliver justice that has long evaded them.

Given the opportunity, Ms Wangui says she would want to point Kabuga to her son’s grave and remind him of the pain he caused her.

“He has caused so much pain to me and I want him to know that he will pay for it. And I know the many other people he caused pain have their own story to tell,” she said.

By Daily Nation

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Africa

Suspect in police officer kidnap case escapes

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A Ugandan accused of kidnapping and possibly killing a Kenyan police officer in January escaped from custody in mysterious circumstances.

Martin Wasike, 27, was discovered missing from Kamukunji police cells in Nairobi on Thursday morning, two days after a Nairobi court directed that he be detained at the station alongside his co-accused for three weeks.

Kamukunji OCS said the suspect disappeared between Wednesday 3.30pm and Thursday 3.30am.

“No grilles were cut and no one was injured. He may have tricked someone and left,” an officer told the Saturday Nation.

Central police commander Mark Wanjala said a search for the suspect in Mathare slums, where a female friend used to host him, was conducted but did not yielded fruit.

“The search is ongoing. We are also investigating the circumstances under which he escaped custody. His co-accused did not escape; they are in custody,” he said.

Mr Wasike, another Ugandan by the name Shariff Wanabwa and Phoebe Anido Andayi, from Busia County, are accused of kidnapping police constable Abel Misati on January 19 and being in possession of some of his stolen items, among them his mobile phone.

The phone was found on one of the trio in Eastleigh on April 17 by DCI detectives.

The investigating officer told the court on Wednesday there is a likelihood they will prefer more charges against the suspects.

The trio’s plea for bail was opposed by State prosecutor Winnie Moraa and the lawyer representing the officer’s family, Mr Alfred Nyandieka.

Ms Moraa argued they might jump bail since they have no permanent residence and identification documents.

“The severe sentences pronounced in the charges they face are an incentive for the three to escape the wrath of the law,” Ms Moraa told the court.

Mr Nyandieka said the disappearance of the officer had caused his family a lot of stress and trauma, and urged the court not to release the three so that they can assist police in locating the officer.

“The three are a threat to the security of the public if they can kidnap a well-trained police officer whose whereabouts are yet to be established,” Mr Alfred Nyandieka, the officer’s family lawyer, told the court.

Another Ugandan believed to have been the mastermind of the abduction is being tracked down by police with the help of Interpol. The suspect is believed to have fled to Uganda.

In his ruling, Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi ordered that the three be detained until June 2, when the investigating officer will inform the court whether there will be changes to the circumstances of the case.

by Saturday Nation

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Africa

Woman dies at Catholic priest’s house after lying to hubby she had gone for funeral

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A married woman in Zambia is said to have died inside a Catholic priest’s house after she lied to her husband she was attending a funeral elsewhere.

TUKO.co.ke reports has learnt the woman is a member of the Catholic Women’s league from St Maurice Catholic Church in Lusaka.

The two are said to be lovers. Photo: Lusaka TimesA collage of the priest and the married woman. Photo source: Lusaka Times
Source: UGC

According to 9ja Live Times, Father Abel Mwelwa invited the woman who also happens to be his lover to the parish house on the night of Holy Thursday, May 7.

Lusaka Times reported that Archbishop Alick Banda suspended the clergyman as the judicial vicar of the Archdiocese of Lusaka moments after the occurrence became public.

An official memo from the church also stated Father Mwelwa had ceased being the parish priest of Kaunda Square parish.

“I hereby wish to inform you that I have with immediate effect suspended the Very Rev. Ringford Abel Mwelwa from the priesthood indefinitely. With this suspension he ceases to be Parish Priest for Kaunda Square Parish as well as Judicial Vicar of the Archbishop of Lusaka,” a part of the memo read.

Married woman found dead in Catholic priest’s home who is reportedly her loverThe priest is said to have injected something in the woman in a bid to terminate her pregnancy. Photo: UGC
Source: UGC

A source close to the media said that the clergyman was mandated to pay for the funeral expenses by the deceased’s family.

As at the time of writing this report, the autopsy result for her death was not yet ready as the woman’s family urged the police to investigate the real cause of her death.

An unconfirmed source, however, said that the priest reportedly injected some substance into the deceased in an attempt to abort her pregnancy.

By Tuko.co.ke

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