A raging Pateh Jallow, phoned Freedom Radio Gambia, late Thursday evening to complain about Sally Jeng, the former Serre-Kunda West, PPP candidate in the just concluded Legislative elections, who claimed in an interview with Monica Njie, a United Kingdom Gambian media practitioner, that she used to be the Fiance of his late murdered brother Ello Jallow. Mr. Jallow has vehemently rejected Ms. Jeng’s claims—describing them as a packed of lies and the figment of her own imagination. “She used a word she doesn’t know the meaning. She was never the fiance of Ello. None of my family knew her. She is just making this up. She is using the death of my brother to pursue an agenda. I have filed a criminal complaint against her with the police headquarters,” said Pateh Jallow.
Sally Jeng, who recently lost her National Assembly election bid, was on record for having told Monica Njie, that she was on the line with Ello Jallow, a former bodyguard to Zeinab Jammeh, the wife of dictator Jammeh, on the night of his murder. Ms. Jeng claimed that Ello received a phone call from his colleagues to meet with them at an undisclosed location. She said she was with Ello on the phone up to the time of his murder.
“Ello Jallow told me, minutes before he was killed that he doesn’t want me to fight for him; to pursue justice on his behalf. I heard him on the background scuffling with his killers. After he was killed, a soldier came to my house and handed Ello’s laptop and mobile phone to me. There was blood on the laptop,” she claimed.
Ms. Jeng, who was crying could be heard saying on the Facebook video interview that she was harassed by the Gambian state after Ello’s death.
Pateh Jallow has rejected Sally’s claims. He said Ello’s phone was handed to him by the state. He said no blood was oozing from Ello’s body adding that Ello’s neck was strangulated by his killers.
“ I do not know where is this lady getting her information from. There is no iota of truth about what is saying. She is lying to the teeth. She had no relationship with my late brother. If she does, I should have been in the picture,” he said.
Pateh Jallow, was speechless for a minute, when he learned that Sally Jeng, was the PPP candidate in Serre-Kunda West. He vowed to sue her to court for using his brother’s name to promote an alleged agenda. Mr. Jallow said he will not sit idly to allow anyone to relate a false story about his late brother.
“I am will not allow anyone to use my brother’s name in this new Gambia. I was very close to Ello. I only new one person that Ello was seeing prior to his murder, and that person is not Sally Jeng. That I can tell you. I consider you as a family member. It is not fair for her to make such unfounded statements about person she doesn’t know in the first place, There is no one in my family who knows this Sally Jeng,” he said.
After watching Sally Jeng’s interview on a Facebook page called “UNREPORTED GAMBIA” this author recognized her face. For disclosure purposes, this author knew Sally Jeng, well before travelling to the United States. He is not a stranger to Sally. He then contacted her on the phone to get her reaction on Pateh’s allegations that she is making up a story just to pursue her own selfish agenda. He first informed Sally that Pateh was on the other line.
“ I am not making up anything. Ello Jallow, was my fiancé. I was on the phone with Ello, minutes before he was murdered. His phone and laptop was handed to me by one of the soldiers. I would love to speak to Pateh Jallow. Please give my number to Pateh,” she said.
When asked, who interviewed her, Ms. Sally Jeng, said she was interviewed by some Americans to relate her story.
“ There are two Americans, who came to interview me. I have their phone numbers. I told them that Ello Jallow, was my fiancé. I was not paid for the interview,” she said.
“My asthma attacked me, shortly granting them the interview. Each time I think about Ello’s death, I got traumatized. I was hospitalized. I have been married twice since Ello’s death. I can hardly get along with my former husbands. At night, I talk to myself; while sleeping and former husbands will react negatively,” she added.
“I am not aware of Sally being interviewed by an American. I interviewed her. Her story was a sad one. I first met her during a forum where Jammeh victims went on record explaining their ordeal. I approached later and proposed to interview her,” she said.
“Since we posted her interview on Facebook, the reaction has been overwhelming. Pateh Jallow, the brother of Ello Jallow, contacted me. He disputed Sally’s story. I even took his phone number from him. I intend to speak to him,” she added.
When asked whether she was working with an international organization to document some of the atrocities committed by Jammeh’s government, Monica Njie, was reluctant to comment. She later replied in the affirmative, after she was pinned down by this author. She even remarked: “Why asking me that question?”
This author also put it to Monica Njie, that she was being paid to interview the likes of Sally Jeng, and her response was: “ Is it a crime to be paid? What’s wrong with being paid? I cannot give you, a yes, or no answer.”
Ms. Njie also confirmed that Sally Jeng was the PPP candidate in Serre-Kunda West, in the past NAM elections.
“I am not in the position to tell you, if her story is accurate or not. If she is making it up, then she needs help,” said Monica Njie.
The Freedom Newspaper, has gathered that some Gambians on the ground are working with some American anti torture organizations, including the UN system to help document some of the atrocities perpetrated under Jammeh’s rule. However, the credibility of some of the people tasked with carrying out such daunting assignments should be the focal concern of the UN system and the American NGOS. The reputation of the NGOS concerned would be on the line if alleged false victims are being presented as witnesses or victims of Jammeh’s crimes.
Omar Bah, is the Director of the Rhode Island Refugee Dream Center, Mr. Bah warns about the potentials of some unscrupulous Gambians to use the ongoing research to interview frivolous victims for monetary gains.
“I am mindful and cautious about the fact that the ‘vulture’ syndrome may be bedeviling The Gambia. In many countries where freedom has just reigned, there is potential for people from various walks of life with different agendas to rush into the arena without much direction. In this case, there is high potential for benign purposes yet many have dubious agendas,” Mr. Bah, who is a Professor of Psychology at the Harvard University Program in Refugee Trauma.
Mr. Bah also cautioned that such investigative and interviewing programs should be carried out by true professionals.
“I am urging caution and restraint to anyone working in the field of trauma and healing in The Gambia. The business of psychology and psychiatry is not for quacks and non-professionals. I urge victims, Gambian officials and international organizations to be extremely wary of people or local based groups with apparent dubious agendas who are suspect in this scheme of manipulating and capitalizing on vulnerabilities of a a fragile nation and victims of a brutal dictatorial regime. Because the government is not yet stable, there is a huge gap in the health and mental health system,” said the Havard Professor.
“However, in no terms should the business of mental health care be the domain of lay people whose actions equal to malpractice and malevolence. The primary intention of healthcare in psychiatry should be benevolence and that can only be done by trained professionals. The Gambian department of health and the police should immediately step in to address this quackery to avoid further traumatizing victims and survivors as well as prevent the utilization of their misfortunes by people who know nothing in this field, for monetary gains. The bottom line is, being empathetic to the situation of the victims does not necessary accord anyone the right or authority to practice medicine or psychology,” he concluded.