Exclusive images: Inside Mile2 Prison, The Gambia – images ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

Exclusive images inside Mile 2 Prison, The Gambia - Prisoners watch TV in their dorm-like cell block ©Jason Florio
Prisoners watch TV in their dorm-like cell block, MILE 2 prison, Gambia ©Jason Florio

Exclusive images, inside the notorious Mile2 Prison, The Gambia, West Africa – Ex-President, Yahya Jammeh, referred to it as ‘my 5-star hotel‘.

Exclusive images inside Mile 2 Prison, The Gambia - The exercise yard come laundry space - image © Helen Jones-Florio
The exercise yard come laundry space, MILE 2 prison – image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

All images © Jason Florio & ©Helen Jones-Florio  – for more images/footage, and licensing, please email Helen (dot) Jones (at) floriophoto (dot) comExclusive images from Inside the notorious Mile 2 Prison, The Gambia – in the exercise yard of the Remand Wing – image ©Jason Florio

Mile 2 Prison, The Gambia – the exercise yard of the Remand Wing – image ©Jason Florio.

Mile 2 Prison, The Gambia – a prisoner looks out from his cell in the maximum security block– image ©Helen Jones-Florio
Mile 2 Prison, The Gambia – a prisoner looks out from his cell in the maximum security block– image ©Helen Jones-Florio.

 

Related:Victims of Torture, Abuse, and Dissent work in progress – portraits by Jason Florio.

From 1994 -2017 Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa as his own fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition with brutality. With Jammeh’s ouster and flight into exile, hundreds of Gambians now feel safe to come forward and speak freely about the crimes committed against them by his regime. This is a work in progress…

Exclusive images from Inside the notorious Mile 2 Prison, The Gambia   – prisoners in the main exercise yard of the prison  – image ©Helen Jones-Florio
Mile 2 Prison, The Gambia – prisoners in the main exercise yard of the prison – image ©Helen Jones-Florio.

 

Watch the trailer for: ‘We Never Gave Up – Stories of courage in Gambia‘ made for Amnesty International. The documentary tells the stories of human rights defenders fighting against former-President Jammeh’s oppressive state.

Vimeo - Watch "We Never Gave Up: Stories of Courage in Gambia" - trailer for Amnesty International
Watch “We Never Gave Up: Stories of Courage in Gambia” – trailer for Amnesty International

 

_______

 

BEING SOCIAL
@FLORIO_GALLERY /@FLORIOTRAVELS /
@DOORS_FACADES_FLORIO  INSTAGRAM
PHOTOSTELLSTORIES – FB
@FLORIOPHOTONYC – TWITTER
Advertisements

The Gambia – Portraits of Victims and the TRRC update, July 2019

Ya Mammie Ceesay & Alhajie Ceesay, The Gambia ©Jason Florio

First and foremost, in light of the shocking and distressing revelations coming out of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) in The Gambia over the past couple of days, we would like to extend our love and healing thoughts to all of the families who have listened to the testimonies of two men, Lieutenant Malik Jatta, and Omar Jallow (AKA Oya) – who were members of the ex-president, Yahya Jammeh’s assassination squad, ‘The Junglers’ – confess, often in explicit detail, their involvement in multiple killings on the command ex-president Yahya Jammeh; namely, the attendant families loved ones. And, particularly pertinent to our on-going series of portraits and filming testimonies:

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters of a regime’

Excerpt from our recording with Ya Mammie Ceesay & Alhajie Ceesay, mother and father of disappeared Gambian-American businessman, Alhaji Mamut Ceesay: Alhaji returned to The Gambia in 2013 with his friend Ebou Jobe to set up a business, but they were allegedly robbed of their money by National Intelligence Agency (NIA) heads, who later told President Jammeh the businessmen were in The Gambia to overthrow his regime. The two were then allegedly murdered on Jammeh’s command. Much to the family’s dismay, their bodies have never been found.

Gambia - victims and resisters: portrait of Ya Mammie Ceesay whose son was murdered by the former regime of Yahya Jammeh ©Jason Florio
Ya Mammie Ceesay, The Gambia ©Jason Florio

UPDATE from TRRC – July 2019, Omar Jallow (alias Oya), former Jungler, testifies: “We covered them up with plastic bags and strangled them until they die and because Yahya Jammeh has given orders that we cut them into pieces, Malick Manga and Fansu Nyabally cut off the heads of Ebou and Mamud. After completing the digging, we put them in the ditch and we returned to Kanilai,” he said.

These are just a few of the portraits which we have been working on over the last few years, from the on-going series ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’. However, all of the people featured here (aside from Imam Baba Leigh) have spent years of anguish, hearing only rumours about what may have happened to their loved ones. Everyone who sat for a portrait graciously allowed us to film them sharing their stories with us – openly and candidly. All of which, without exception, were profoundly heart-rending to hear. The common thread throughout was their utmost need to know the truth of what had truly happened to those who had been disappeared or murdered. And, to find out the whereabouts of their loved ones remains so that they can finally lay them to rest. Only then can the healing process truly begin. Sadly, as events unfold, it is now known that many of the bodies were thrown into wells or buried in unmarked graves.

A man wears a t-shirt with a photo of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Dedyra Hydara, who was assassinated in 2004 ©Jason Florio

Deyda Hydara, co-founder of The Point newspaper was an advocate of press freedom and a fierce critic of the government of President Yahya Jammeh, who was openly hostile to journalists and the media. On December 14, 2004, he was assassinated in his car by gunmen as he was driving home. Two of his colleagues who were also with him were injured in the shooting 

UPDATE from TRRC – July 2019: It took 15 years to have a concrete answer to the question: “Who Killed Deyda Hydara?” displayed on The Point newspaper front page banner since 2004. Lt. Malick Jatta of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) and ex-Jungler testifies: “I shot at him… my colleagues Alieu Jeng and Sana Manjang also fired,” he said at the TRRC, noting that they were all quiet throughout their journey back to Kanilai without a single stop. The witness added that he only came to know in the following day that the person shot was actually Deyda Hydara.

'Gambia - victims and resisters' : portrait of Fatou Jaiteh & Modou Lamin Jammeh - mother and son of murdered 'brother' of Yahya Jammeh, Haruna Jammeh ©Jason Florio
Fatou Jaiteh & Modou Lamin Jammeh ©Jason Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Excerpt from our recording with Fatou Jaiteh & Modou Lamin Jammeh, wife and son of Haruna Jammeh: President Jammeh allegedly ordered the murder of his cousin (‘brother’), Haruna, after he criticized Jammeh for his abuse of power. Haruna’s sister, Massie, was murdered soon after by Jammeh’s henchmen after she spoke out about her brother’s disappearance. A former member of Jammeh’s hit squad, the ‘Junglers’ now in Germany spoke openly on a Gambian radio station about witnessing the murders.

UPDATE from TRRC – July 2019, Omar Jallow (alias Oya), former Jungler, testifies: ‘On Haruna Jammeh’s death, Jungler Jallow said Haruna was arrested and detained at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) where he (Jallow), Sana Manjang, Alieu Jeng and Solo Bojang picked him and took him to Kanilai. “On our way to Kanilai, we drove through the bush and Sana Manjang brought out a rope and asked me and Alieu Jeng to tie it on Haruna’s neck. We did and he asked us to pull the rope, which we did, and he (Sana) stamped him on his neck and he died.” He further confessed that Haruna was their friend and they used to eat with him in his house, adding the order was from Yahya Jammeh’ The Point newspaper.

Later, when asked what they did with Haruna’s body, Jallow replied: “We took the body to the same well where these Ghanaians were killed. We took him to that well and threw him there,”

Gambia - victims and resisters: portrait of Bintu Tunkara, daughter of murdered Gambian Lamin Tunkara, holding the only photo she has of him on her mothers cell phone ©Jason Florio
Bintu Tunkara ©Jason Florio

Excerpt from our recording with Bintu’s mother, Adama Conteh: 13-year-old Bintu, holding her mother’s phone with a photo of her father of Lamin Tunkara – the father she never got the chance to meet. Gambian, Tunkara, was murdered in July 2005 when Adama was 7 months pregnant, with Bintu. They had been married for less than a year. When Lamin first went missing, Adama said “I  searched everywhere – Mile 2 prison, other prisons, police stations, NIA... they warned me to “go home if you do not want any trouble…stay, and you will have trouble”. I did not eat or wash for one week…he (Lamin) loved me, he took care of me.” She searched for over 1 year. ” Despite the many rumours, “I would not accept, nor would his father, that his son, my husband was dead“. 

It later transpired that Lamin was part of a group of almost 50 Ghanaians and other West African migrants bound for Europe who was arrested and slaughtered by the Gambian security forces. There was one sole survivor, Martin Kyere, who has now come forward to testify. “The West African migrants weren’t murdered by rogue elements, but by a paramilitary death squad taking orders from Gambia’s President Jammeh,” said Reed Brody, counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Jammeh’s subordinates then destroyed key evidence to prevent international investigators from learning the truth.”

UPDATE from TRRC – July 2019, Corporal Omar A. Jallow testifies: “We were told they were mercenaries,” Jatta said, adding that he shot and killed one of the migrants. “I heard people shouting in the forest saying ‘save us, Jesus.’” Jallow told the TRRC that Lt Col Solo Bojang, the leader of the operation, told the men that “the order from Yahya Jammeh is that they are all to be executed.” It is believed that Lamin Tunkara was amongst the Ghanaians, Nigerians, Togolese, and Ivory Coast nationals were unlawfully killed. 

#Jammeh2Justice

Imam Baba Leigh, disappeared, held prisoner and tortured by Yahya Jammeh regime, The Gambia ©jason florio
Imam Baba Leigh ©Jason Florio

Excerpt from our recording with Imam Baba Leigh: The imam spoke out against President Jammeh’s proposed execution of multiple prisoners. Leigh was then abducted and tortured, on Jammeh’s orders, and ‘disappeared’ for five months, before being released without charge. ‘Today is the day you die (he said that during his imprisonment he was threatened with death on multiple occasions)… they made me dig a big hole which I was then told to get into. “This is your grave,” they said…and then they buried me up to my neck’ IBL

UPDATE from TRRC – July 2019, Omar Jallow (alias Oya), former Jungler, testifies: “I participated in the torture of Imam Baba Leigh, Imam Bakawsu (Fofana) and another Imam, in the torture of the 30th December coup plotters” He went on to say “On the torture of Imam Baba Leigh after he (Leigh) was interrogated……, we were ordered by Nuah Badjie to torture him. We beat him using sticks, elastic pipes and I saw blood and bruises on him. The torture lasted for about half an hour.” Foroyaa Newspaper

Watch:

‘We Never Gave Up – stories of Courage in Gambia’

'Gambia - victims and resisters' : portrait of Fatou Suwaa widow of murdered army signal officer Mustafa Colley ©Jason Florio
Fatou Suwaa ©Jason Florio

Excerpt from our recording with Fatou Suwaa, widow of former army signal officer Mustafa Colley: In 2012 Mustafa was found with a broken neck at the wheel of a taxi he had bought to earn extra money. Reports in the press said General Saul Badjie heard that Mustafa had been discussing the murder of Sergeant Ello Jallow, who had been killed for allegedly having an affair with President Jammeh’s wife. Baji was then instructed by Jammeh to have Mustafa murdered by his hit squad, the ‘Junglers’.

UPDATE: TRRC – July 2019 Omar Jallow (alias Oya), former Jungler, testifies: Staff Sergeant Jallow also admitted participating in the killing of Baba Jobe, Ndour Cham, 9 death row inmates, Haruna Jammeh (a brother to Yahya Jammeh), Mustapha Colley, Saul Ndow and Mahawa Cham, among others. (At Mile2 Prison) “We lined-up our vehicles and Nuha Badjie and our leaders went in and took out 9 inmates from their cells,” he said. “When we got to the Range, we all came down and brought them down one by one. We put nylon plastic on their heads and cover them up. We suffocated them one by one until they all died. There was only one female who was Tabara Samba,” he said. “After killing them, we took them to the bush and throw them into a well,”

Visit Jason Florio’s website to see more from our on-going series

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

Watch the testimonies from the TRRC – via QTV’s channel – on Youtube.

All images © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio. Text by Helen Jones-Florio.

‘Portraits for Positive Change’ at the TRRC – donated by the British High Commission, The Gambia ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

With thanks for their support: The Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations; The Goethe Institut; The British High Commission in The Gambia; Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission


Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here

 @jasonflorio / @floriotravels / @doors.helenjonesflorio / 

@jasonflorio.photographyprints – Instagram

Jason Florio – Vimeo / floriotravels – Vimeo

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

PhotoTellStories – FB

Portraits for Positive Change – The Gambia. Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio

Portraits for Positive Change exhibition booklet – front cover © Jason Florio

A sneak preview of the front cover of our next exhibition booklet Portraits for Positive Change‘. All images are taken from an on-going body of work, here in the Gambia, West Africa

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters of a regime

The booklet is to accompany the portraits – and video – of our second exhibition of this work, in the Gambia. More news about the exhibition, coming soon… Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Mr.Njie – in his taxi which was confiscated by the NIA for many months ©Jason Florio

“I was taken downstairs (everyone knows that this is where the bad things happen at the NIA -National Intelligence Agency). They covered my eyes with something, and I felt 3-4 people push behind me, and I felt an injection in my back – you know…like a big staple gun – and then I felt something enter my system…burning me inside. I was screaming, shouting, calling to Allah for help. Then they took me to the beating grounds…” Mr. Njie

#GambiaHasDecided

Njie, a local taxi driver, was inadvertently caught up in a demonstration by the UDP opposition party on April 14th 2016 and arrested by the former president, Yahya Jammeh’s, security forces. Despite simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Njie was held, without charge for 3 months

“Oh my god, Mile 2, it is like hell…no dignity, they treat you like donkeys, animals, even the smallest of boys…no respect” Mr.Njie

#StoriesBehindDoors ©Helen Jones-Florio – The doorway to Mr.Njie’s home
Print samples for the new exhibition in the Gambia ©Jason Florio/Instagram

Portraits ©Jason Florio / Text ©Helen Jones-Florio

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio - wet plate collodion print portrait courtesy of Marcin Andrzejewski
Teamwork: Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio – portrait courtesy of Marcin Andrzejewski

________

Currently working in the Gambia – May 2019

Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here

floriophoto.com

@doors_facades_florio / @jasonflorioio / @floriotravels – Instagram

Jason Florio – Vimeo / floriotravels – Vimeo

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

PhotoTellStories – FB

Cover Shots: Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

Cover shot © Jason Florio for FD Persoonlijk Magazine ‘Environment & Climate – the resurrection of Han Stiphout’

Ten years ago Han Stiphout (64) had two castles in Limberg and a bid for his company of more €20 million. Just before the sale, he went bankrupt. Now he is picking up again and building recycling plants in The Gambia and Senegal words by Hella Hueck / FD Persoonlijk Magazine + all feature images © Jason Florio

– Published 19th April 2019

Super excited – we both made the cover of two separate publications, this week, connected to The Gambia, West Africa!



Cover shot © Helen Jones-Florio (Mile2 Prison, Gambia)ANEKED Gambia launches the first edition of the TRRC Digest which gives a summary of the first session of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission hearings.



A constructive recount of the first session of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission hearings looking into the July 22nd Coup and the early aftermath. The summary provides names of persons adversely mentioned as perpetrators of and/or  accessory to gross human rights violations.
TRRC Digest, Edition 1 – 7th January to 28th January, 2019 – ANEKED


– published 17th April 2019



Currently working in the Gambia – April 2019

Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here

floriophoto.com

@doors_facades_florio / @jasonflorioio / @floriotravels – Instagram

Jason Florio – Vimeo

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

PhotoTellStories – FB