Porridge was used the last two decades to kill inmates at Gambia’s Central Prison, a commission is told.
Gambia’s state prison, dubbed Mile II, is a correction facility for convicts.
Hearing how its role shifted to a torture chamber under former president Yaya Jammeh’s regime, a commission investigating right abuses today heard gruesome tales of gross killings owing to poor diet inmates were placed on.
Telling investigators in a televised sitting over incidents there, Lamin Korte an erstwhile officer-in-charge at facility, revealed porridge , cooked the night before, was dished out to inmates.
“The number of deaths at the prison was a lot. There was news they used to die of beriberi but I have not seen their death certificates and these deaths was common knowledge beriberi was the cause of it coming from the porridge,” he said, adding, ” The management of prisons were aware of this porridge was killing prisoners from 1994 and it will continue to kill inmates. The changes occurred in 2017.”
True state of Gambia’s prisons were laid bare the previous twelve months following an unannounced visit by the ongoing commission investigating right abuses.
And giving his accounts of the narrative then before changes were carried in 2017, 61-year-old Lamin revealed inmates brokered deals or bartered food with bedding.
“Two prisoners would sometimes reach an agreement. One will trade his bowl of rice for two days just to use the other’s bed sheet and pillow. The prison back then wasn’t fit for any human being. Imagine an elderly man of 50 or 60 years old being detained in the same cells with youngster of 18 years and the like. Imagine that oldman having defecating in a chamber pot in presence of those kids,” he said, divulge a scenario of an inmate’s sudden death occurring purportedly after he had eaten a cooked dead bull.
Rating erstwhile prison boss David Colley’s administration of Mile II “zero over hundred”, and under whose gambit the aforesaid vices, spanning two decades, were allegedly committed, Korte said prisoners accused a certain warden, named Ebrima Jammeh, of torture when a rights organsiation toured the notorious facility.
Now dismissed from prison services, offcier Ebrima Jammeh is strongly mired in the death of prisoner Ebrima Joof about a year before Jammeh’s ouster, having sustained kicks on the ribs.