Former president of the Gambia Yahya Jammeh. Picture: Frank Franklin II

Johannesburg – Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh is facing rape charges after a former Gambian beauty queen alleged she was raped by him in 2014, while he was still in office.

Toufah Jallow, 23, has flown into Gambia from Canada to present her allegations to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), set up by President Adama Barrow to investigate human rights abuses committed during Jammeh's 22 years in power, Radio France International (RFI) reported.

The young woman’s allegations are backed by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Trial International, with both organisations supporting her campaign seeking reparations and aiming to raise awareness about the scale of sexual violence committed by the former president.

The rape allegedly happened when Jallow was 18, when she rejected a marriage proposal by Jammeh after she had been lured to his presidential palace by one of his aides.

According to independent journalist Saikou Jammeh, the former president was involved in all kinds of schemes to lure women to his residence.

However, the former president's Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party has systematically denied the allegations made to the commission, calling them a "stream of unfounded allegations and a smear campaign against the president".

Former officials of the deposed president have also accused him of giving orders for extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary detentions while he was still in power.

Barrow says he will wait until the TRRC releases its final report before considering whether to push for Jammeh's extradition from Equatorial Guinea which offered him political asylum after he was forced to leave Gambia in January 2017.

Jammeh lost to Barrow in the December 2016 elections. He refused to accept defeat or to step down from power which lead to military intervention by Senegalese forces under orders of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).

African News Agency/ANA