Mrs Sainabou Camara-Lowe told the TRRC that she was sexually assaulted by officers of the Police Intervention Unit.

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission has today begun its public hearings on sexual and gender based violence during the Jammeh regime.

Sainabou Camara-Lowe, a victim who waived her anonymity, relieved her traumatic experience after 19 years of silence and anguish.

Mrs. Camara-Lowe was a student protester during the infamous April 10/11 2000 violent student crackdown.

She gave graphic details of how officers of the Police Intervention Unit sexually assaulted her in custody leaving her with wounds to her private part.

She said she could not remember how she got the wound in her private part but that “may be something was inserted inside my private part but I can’t remember how it happened because I was in coma and I was bleeding”.

Ms Camara-Lowe recalled how the personnel of the Police Intervention Unit chased her and other protesters in Serekunda.

She said: “as we were running and because I didn’t know Serekunda, I headed towards their camp. I was slim and, I was very fast in running. But the four of them were chasing after me and when I felt tired and while attempting to jump over a fence, one of my leg was over and they held on to my other leg.”

The former student protester said she got bruises as a result of the beating inflicted on her by the PIU officers.

“They were stamping on my body from my chest to my private part and down to my leg which has left me unable to do a heavy work,” she said, adding that “they tied me from my toe up to my neck and one of them took my workman put it in his ears and told me ‘you people are rude but we will teach you a lesson’, and I insulted his mother and the other man slapped me on my face.”

She said that one Aunty Njie, a nurse at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul, rescued her after being mistaken for dead and taken to the mortuary.

She however could not tell how she got to the hospital in Banjul as she claimed she was unconscious

Mrs Camara-Lowe said while receiving medical care at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul that “a pipe (catheter) was inserted in her in order to enable her to urinate” but told the Commission that she still feels pain around her private (part) which she said “was not stitched by the doctors 19 years ago.

“I couldn’t tell till to date how I got the wound on my private part, all my body was swollen, my face, my thigh, my groins and my private part.”

According to her, she insulted the mother of the former president Yahya Jammeh and former vice president Isatou Njie –Saidy in their presence when they paid them a visit at the hospital.

Mrs Camara-Lowe said after her discharged from hospital her aunt took care of her health, adding she was using warmed water mixed with detergent to heal the wounds.

“I can’t do a heavy work, if I am to fetch water I must take a bucket and if I am to launder I had to sit-down because I can’t bend as up till now my groins pain me, my stomach pains me and when I got pregnant my private part swelled and caused me lots of pains,” she said.

At least 129 witnesses have testified so far among whom 31 were perpetrators and alleged perpetrators and the rest were victims including 21 women.

The TRRC sitting continues.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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