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News > Country

Women Accuse Gambia's Former President of Rape, Assault

  • Gambia's ex-president accused of sexual violence.

    Gambia's ex-president accused of sexual violence. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 June 2019

Several Gambian women have come forth to accuse ex-president and dictator Yahya Jammeh of rape and sexual violence. 

Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh is being accused by various women of forcing them into having sex with him, using moral, financial and physical pressure. 


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The facts go back to the time when the former dictator was running the country from 1996 until 2016, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released Wednesday.

After an 18 month investigation, the organization published a statement alleging Jammeh raped and sexually assaulted several women during his 20 years in office that also included repression the LGBTQ community.

Former Gambian officials admitted that many women said they were regularly pressured by presidential assistants to visit Jammeh or to work with him, and he would sexually abuse them.

Former beauty pageant winner Fatou Jallow said the President raped her in 2015 after she declined his marriage proposal.

“Yahya Jammeh treated Gambian women like his personal property,” said Reed Brody, counsel at HRW who led the investigation. “Rape and sexual assault are crimes, and Jammeh is not above the law,” he added.

Jammeh hasn't responded to several media outlets for an official statement. 

Gambia’s attorney general and minister of justice made a statement saying he admired Jallow “for speaking up and sharing her story with the world,” and “for exposing yet another serious allegation of reprehensible conduct by former President Jammeh, who abused his position as head of state to the detriment of many Gambians,” added the top prosecutor.

Jammeh lost presidential elections in 2016 but refused to step down until regional leaders negotiated his exile to Equatorial Guinea where he currently lives. He has yet to face charges over several accusations of murders, beatings, and unjustified imprisonments among other grave accusations.

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