By Buba Gagigo
Over land conflict, Busura village in Kombo Central threatened to attack neighbouring village, Talokoto, if the government does not act, in three weeks.
Residents of Busura village have accused their neighbours in Talokoto village of selling their lands.
“If the government does not take any measures in three weeks, we will attack Talokoto. We will do it! I have already talked to my boys. It is the Alkalo who stopped us for now, but we will do it; and we are not going back. We will attack Talokoto, and we will demolish all their buildings. The government will be responsible for any deaths,” the VDC chairman, Luta Jatta, said at a press conference on Friday
Also speaking at the event, the forestry secretary of the village explained how in 1999, they founded the land in quest, ‘Badara Faye Forest’.
“Part of the rules in establishing a community forest is; before establishing the forest, the bordering villages should agree that the land belongs to you. We did that. All the neighboring villages like Sion, Jalamantag, Giboro, Gidda, Talokoto and Basori have witnessed that the land (‘Badara Faye Forest’) belongs to us. The Alkalou of all the mentioned villages have signed that the land belongs to us. Baba Colley was their (Talokoto) first Alkalo and he has signed and witnessed that the said land belongs to us. The then Governor of the West Coast Region, FRI Jammeh (late) was also a witness. Not only that, we won the case but they still insist. I am asking the Minister of Justice whether there is no law in the Gambia. It is our Alkalo who is calming us, but we cannot bear this anymore. In two or three weeks, if the government does not act, whatever they hear, they are the cause,” the forestry secretary said.
The Alkalo of the village Alieu K. Faye gave a brief background of the land dispute and accused the leadership of Talokoto and her people of selling their land.
“The land dispute started in 2015. The Alkalo of Talokoto, Olimatou Colley and her people are the ones selling our lands. When I was given the report as an Alkalo, I also reported the matter to the then Chief, Dembo Keleng Bojang (Late). I also went to Kombo East Chief called Basiru Jarju, he is still alive. Basiru Jarju called both Busura and Talokoto elders. We showed him (Chief Jarju) the boundaries between the two villages.
“We, at Busura showed the Chief where our land stops and when the Talokoto elders were asked by the chief, they told him that the place was not part of their farms. At this point, the chief was confused on what was the problem because they had agreed that the land does not belong to them. The chief then told us not to sell the land, until he discusses with former chief Dembo Keleng Bojang (Late). We asked for his reason, but they said the place was in Kombo East. That really confused us at the time, but we still kept to the advice of the chief to avoid problems,” the Alkalo said.
He alleged that after both villages received an injunction from the Governor not to sell the land area in question, the people of Talokoto continued to sell their lands
“The Governor then wrote an injunction to both villages but they never heed. However, before that, I had written a comprehensive report to the Chief of Kombo Central. I copied the Chief of Kombo East, the Governor, Physical Planning, Ministry of Lands, and the Inspector General of Police and NIA. Despite this report, they still continued selling our lands,” he said.
Alkalo Faye said his village then informed their lawyer to write to the Governor and remind him about the case, which he said they later won.
“At this stage, we did not have any option, but to inform our lawyer to write to the governor about the case. After that, we then wrote a petition to the Ministry of Local Government and Lands in 2017. We followed up the petition on two occasions, but the last one, the Local Government and Lands Minister instructed the Governor to act and solve the case amicably. The Governor then constituted a tribunal court consisting of three chiefs, and we won the case. However, they (Talokoto) continue selling the place. From our investigation, we found out that when they sell it to people, they tell them to develop it and they would give them their documents, in three years. Most of the people they sold the land to, are security officers,” he concluded.
An elder at the village, Malanding Sanneh, expressed their lack of trust in the Minister of Lands, Musa Drammeh.
“It’s the Minister of Lands that instructed the Governor and the Governor instructed the chief. They did their job, until they finished everything. Still, we have not seen anything. We are still in the dark. We will mention what the Alkalo does not want us to mention. When we won the case, we gave him the document, but we also went up to him (Minister Drammeh) and told him the work ‘you instructed is done and we have won’. How are we going to see the Minister in the whole thing? We don’t trust the Minister,” he said.
According to the residents of Busura village, the said land in dispute is over 118 Hectares.
Meanwhile, this medium will endeavour to obtain for publication, the sides of other parties mentioned in this story