By Ousman A. Marong
Sainabou Camara-Lowe, a survivor of April 10/11, 2000 student massacre has disclosed to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) that upon her release from hospital a doctor told her that she would not bear a child.
She added that her private part was torn due to stamps she received from officers of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) commonly known as paramilitary.
She said she spent a week in a wheelchair upon her release from Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) now Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH), adding that she used to sit in hot water in order to be relieved from the pain.
“A pipe was inserted in my private part to help me urinate, as it was difficult for me to urinate,” she quires.
At that point, Counsel Marima Signateh quizzed: “What do you think must have caused the tear in your private part?”
The witness said she did not know what must have caused the tear in her private part.
Upon my release from hospital a doctor told me that I would not bear a child,” the witness disclosed.
Sainabou made these remarks during her testimony before the TRRC at Dunes Hotel in Kololi.
“I insulted former president Jammeh’s mother during his visit to us at the hospital.
She added that the wound in her private part was not stitched during her admission at the hospital.
The witness recalled hearing one of the officers telling his colleagues, “she is off now.”
She said she was in comma and was later transferred to Edward Small Francis Teaching Hospital.
She said they (the students) were asked to raise their hands up and got escorted by the PIU officers.
“They escorted us and we walked from Serekunda at Aisa Marie junction to PIU headquarter in Kanifing. Upon arrival at PIU headquarters they kneeled us down in the hot sand,” she explained.
According to her, she escaped when four PIU officers were pursuing her, adding that she ran into a nearby house where she met some family members taking their lunch.
“I passed through the gate and ran as far as I could. I ran up to a point that I nearly suffocated. I reached a fence and I attached my hands against the wall to adjust myself to scale over the fence. As I was about to scale over the fence the four PIU officers held my legs and tore my underwear,” she told the Commission.
The 40-year-old woman explained how she was pulled down from the fence and received slaps that swelled her face.
“I was taken to a house at the PIU headquarters by the four paramilitary officers where I received slaps and knocks. I was wrestled to the ground and there was a mattress. I had a Walkman in my bag which one of the officers pulled out and told me, ‘you were not going to school to learn, but instead to enjoy.’ I told him: ‘It is not your business.’ One of them called an officer by the name Badjie and asked him to bring a robe. I was compressed down while the rest tied me up. I was tied up to my neck,” explained the witness.
She said one of the officers told her: “Today we will do something that you will never forget for the rest of your life.”
“I insulted his mother and I got slapped by the later while the one with my laptop stamped on me, from my chest going down. He stepped on me with his paramilitary boots, while I was lying on my back. He continued stamping on the whole of my body including my private part until I was in a comma. I was in constant pain crying. I questioned one of the officers that if I were his blood sister would he do such to her,” stated the witness.
She said upon arrival at the hospital while in comma with a rope tied on her, she was marked death.
She further said that a nurse by the name Aunty Njie who was checking on her thought that she was dead and she started untying the robes on me.
As she untied the robe up to my neck I gave a deep breath and that was how she noticed that I wasn’t dead. They fixed a feeding pipe for me to be fed through,” she asserted.
In her concluding remarks, the witness challenged the government to do all it takes to assist the survivors and facilitate their overseas treatment.