FAMILY IN SEARCH OFMENTALLY ILL DETAINEE

Mustapha Jallow

Ambu Drammeh, a mentally ill young man said to be in his early twenties andAmbu Drammeh a resident of Farato in the West Coast Region, has been in detention without any access to family members. The family members are requesting to have access to him.

His elder brother told Foroyaa that security agents came to their home in Farato before the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan looking for Ambu. He said the security agents told them that the younger brother’s Birth Certificate and National Identity Card together with a set of prayer beads and pair of shoes were found at the Banjul International Airport where the presidential aircraft is parked. He said the agents waited for him until he returned home and then whisked him away.

“He was held for nearly three weeks when we could not have access to him. We were later told that he was taken to Brikama court where the magistrate ordered for him to be taken to Tanka Tanka psychiatric hospital to undergo treatment,” said the elder brother.

He explained that the younger brother was at Tanka Tanka during the Ramadan and they were taking food to him there. He said the brother later came home.

“When we noticed that there was no improvement on his mental illness, we decided to take him to our home village of Kerr Pateh in Baddibou to resort to traditional healers,” he said.

The elder brother said less than a week after Ambu left for Kerr Pateh to take local treatment, the security came for him again and were told that he left for the village. They went there and picked him up and was later brought to Police headquarters in Banjul.

“We were told by the police that he was held there for only two days and then taken away. When we checked for him at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), we were told that he was not with them. We searched for him at the Brikama and Yundum police stations as well as Tanka Tanka, but he was nowhere to be found,” explained the elder brother.

The family, he said, later discovered that Ambu was at the Mile Two prison. “When we went there, the prison officials confirmed that he was there but told us that we cannot have access to him. We were only allowed to take things like slippers, under garments and soap to him,” he said.

Explaining the history of Ambu, the elder brother said he was sent to Koranic school in Senegal and he returned with mental illness which they only discovered when he started washing his face with milk, throwing objects over the fence and lacerating his hands with hot metal objects.

The family, he concluded, is pleading with the authorities to release his younger brother who is not mentally stable to enable him to undergo treatment.