‘I refused to marry Yahya Jammeh – then he raped me’

A 23-year-old former beauty queen in The Gambia, Fatou “Toufah” Jallow, has said she was raped 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.

Fatou “Toufah” Jallow won a state sponsored beauty pageant when she was 18. Months after she won the pageant she said Yahya Jammeh asked her to marry him and she refused.

In 2015 Ms Jallow said she was invited to a presidential ceremony. Instead she said, she was taken to Mr Jammeh’s residence.

She said it was a day before the start of Ramadan and people gathered at the president’s compound where the ceremonial prayer before the fast was meant to take place. She said Someone came up to her and took her to the president’s house. She said she was left alone in a room and not long the president came in.

“It was clear what this was going to be. So he could have done anything at that moment to degrade me, to put me to the lowest, he did that. He rubbed his genitals in my face, pushed me down on my knees, pulled my dress up and sodomised me. I was screaming for life and he injected me on my right arm. I was fighting back. I think throughout this whole time my shame came from the fact that, at a point, I stopped fighting.”

Reporters have tried to contact Mr Jammeh, who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea, about the allegations. He did not respond, however a spokesman for his APRC party denied the accusations made against the former president.

“I want him to know that I am here right now, at this moment, taking back this space and the narrative, and telling the truth as it. I hope he has the courage to answer to this, or to face this, or to share a room with me again but this time, in a courtroom.”


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