Former Miss Gambian President Yahya Jama accused of raping her

 A former beauty queen has given a shocking testimony to former Gambian president Yahya Jama, who is now in exile, accusing him of raping her for insulting her and paying her for refusing to marry him.

"What Yahya Jama wanted was not sexual relations or pleasure with me. What he wanted was to hurt me, teach me a lesson and satisfy his ego," Fatou said.

Gallo was speaking to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up to investigate the years of Yahya Jama's officer, who came to power in the Gambia after a 1994 coup and led until 2017 to a fierce repression.

Fatou Jallow, who studied theater arts, won the beauty pageant in December 2014 when she was 18.

She is 23 years old today.

In a charged atmosphere, she recounted how Jameh brought her to the palace several times and deceived her by showing a patriarchal stance and promised to pay the grant.

In May 2015, after he ended a telephone conversation with his wife, Yahya Jama, 50, asked her whether she agreed to marry him. After she thought it was a joke or a test, she responded negatively, citing her young age.

After that I felt like they were chasing. The presidency seduced her with a house and a car, but used all pretexts to refuse requests. To be invited to a public event does not involve any risk.

Fatou Jallow recalls that she was taken to a side room where he entered with red eyes. "I heard words like who you think you are and who is the president and you can get all the women you want, then draw them into a room next door," she said.

She says she "recalls how she injected an unknown substance into her arm but remained conscious without realizing how long ago" and raped her "despite her screams and pleas."

The young woman herself spoke of hearing a recitation of Quranic verses broadcast at the same time at the public ceremony on the other side of the door. "He was quiet and was using a wonderful moment for him that will never be revealed," she said.

And then they fainted. When she regained consciousness she was asked to leave.

In July 2015, she sought refuge in Senegal, where she received UNHCR assistance and is currently studying social work in Toronto, Canada.

Since January, dozens of hearings of victims and former officials of the former regime have revealed to Gambians the scale of human rights abuses during the rule of Yahya Jama, who fled his country to exile in January 2017 in Equatorial Guinea after being defeated by dissident Adama Baru.

At the conclusion of its work, which may last another year, the Commission may recommend prosecutions or compensation. But she cannot make judgments.

 

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