Former Interior minister Ousman Sonko has been implicated in human rights abuses including rape, torture and extrajudicial killing during the Jammeh dictatorship

The wife of late Almamo Manneh, Binta Jamba, has told the TRRC that former Interior minister Ousman Sonko raped and sexually abused her on several occasions.

Mr Sonko is currently in detention in Switzerland over alleged human rights abuses in The Gambia.

Several witnesses before the TRRC have alleged that Ousman Sonko was involved in the death of Almamo Manneh.

Almamo Manneh, who was a guard to former president Yahya Jammeh, died in mysterious circumstances in 2000 after he was accused of plotting a coup by the Jammeh government.

Her widow, Binta Jamba, in her testimony to the TRRC on Wednesday, accused the former Interior minister Ousman Sonko of continuously raping her after the death of her husband.

She said Sonko summoned her to State House when she resumed work after mourning her late husband.

She said at the State House, she was escorted to Sonko’s office where Almamo’s personal belongings including a bank book and house documents, were handed over to her.

She said then Sonko forced her to have sex with him in his office at the State House.

“Sonko placed his hand on my shoulder, kissed me and forced me to sit on his lap,” the witness said.

She said on a Friday the same week, Sonko went to her home and demanded to see her.

“While he was there, he (Sonko) placed his hands on my shoulders again and then threw me on my bed … he placed his pistol on my bed’s headboard.

“Sonko used to point his pistol at me and warned me not to talk to the media. He also warned me that he did not want to see any man in my house. He raped me again. He made it a routine and would come to me every time he wanted to sexually pleased himself. This went on for one year and some months,” the witness told the TRRC.

She said Sonko kidnapped her and put her in a room in Banjul for two days. She said all this while, Sonko used to have sex with her in that detention room.

She told the Commission that she requested transfers from her workplace but anywhere she went, Sonko would still follow her until she fled the Gambia in 2003 and sought asylum in the USA.

The witness said in 2005, she came back to The Gambia to look after her sick child but was contacted by Sonko who at this time was the Inspector General of Police.

She told the TRRC that Sonko took her to the same room in Banjul where she was raped and had sex with her again.

She said before Sonko had sex with her, he beat her severely as he wanted to know if she spoke to the Independent newspaper about Almamo’s vehicle.

She said Sonko seized her Gambian passport and had forcefull sex with her.

Mrs Jamba said she was helped by a soldier who Sonko sent to bring food for her to escape through the backdoor of the house. She said she fled to Senegal.

In 2007, she said she came back to The Gambia and someone by the name Dawda Ndour went to her home, greeted her and told her that he was sent to arrest her and the order was from Sonko.

She said her house was surrounded by NIA officials. She added that the soldier told her that he could not arrest her because she was like a sister to her.

Ndour then advised that she should hide in the house and she was put behind her mother’s cupboard so that the NIA officers wouldn’t be able to see her.

She said when the soldiers left her uncle drove her to Dasilammeh and she spent the night at the Sheriff’s (scholar) house. She later travelled to Zingunchor and called Ousman Sonko from there telling him about the bad deeds he did to her.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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