Former president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh has been accused of rape by a 23-year-old former beauty queen, Toufah Jallow. Jallow claimed she was raped by president Jammeh in 2015 when he was still in office.
Refuting the accusations, a spokesperson for president Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party in a written statement to the BBC said “We as a party and The Gambian people are tired of the steady stream of unfounded allegations that have been reported against our ex-president”.
“The ex-president has no time to react to lies and smear campaigns. He is a very respectable God fearing and pious leader who has nothing but respect for our Gambian women,” The deputy APRC leader added.
Jallow’s story is part of a Human Rights Watch and Trial International report that details another alleged rape and sexual assault by Mr Jammeh. She told the BBC she wanted to meet Mr Jammeh in court so he could face justice.
According to the ex-beauty queen, she met Mr Jammeh in 2014 after winning a beauty pageant in the country’s capital, Banjul. The president acted more like a father figure to her months after her coronation. He used to shower her with gifts ,advice, money and even ordered for running water to be installed in her family home.
Ms Jallow said after she refused to marry the former president when he asked her to marry him at an organised dinner, she was then invited to attend a religious ceremony at the state house in her role as beauty queen in June 2015. On her arrival at the state house, she was instead taken to the president’s private residence.
Toufah Jallow claims the former Gambian president slapped her and injected her with a needle.
“He rubbed his genitals in my face, pushed me down to my knees, pulled my dress up and sodomised me.”
The 23-year-old said she locked herself at home for three days before fleeing to Senegal . While Senegal, Ms Jallow sought the assistance of various human rights organisations. Weeks later, she was approved protection status and moved to Canada, where she has been living since.
Gambia’s attorney general on Wednesday said he saluted Jallow’s courage for speaking up and sharing her story. He also encouraged “all women and girls in the country” to speak up about their own experiences with president Jammeh.