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Natives of New Yundum accuse gov’t of assigning their lands to officials, MPs

The Para Military and Community members on site
The Para Military and Community members on site

By Arfang M.S. Camara

The people of New Yundum have accused the government of the Gambia of assigning their plots of land (initially reserved for developmental purposes) to government officials and National Assembly members.

This development caused commotion in the community as New Yundum residents, on Saturday, conducted a tour of the areas they believed were illegally grabbed.

As a result, the Yundum Village Development Committee (VDC) issued a statement on Thursday to draw the attention of Gambians, “the Government of the Gambia, and in particular, the Ministry of Lands and the members of the National Assembly of our utmost dismay, disappointment and frustration concerning the unlawful allocation of lands belonging to the community of New Yundum to government officials and National Assembly members.”

The statement further states the VDC’s regret and utter unease about what it deems to be the insensitivity of our public officials and National Assembly members for being capable of rubbing the very people they are meant to serve genuinely.

“We wonder where we will end up as a country when the apex law making body is bent on [conducting] such a dubious activity without considering the plight of the very people who elected them into [office]” the statement reads.

The statement also indicates that the VDC officials often make visits to the sites for observation and to monitor any new development or activity. It is when they realized that there was activities occurring on the reserve lands and an official of the VDC told The Fatu Network that they consulted the community and requested that they go there and find out for themselves.

He said, “during that process, we met the paramilitary there; I think two or three vehicles were fully armed. So we went there, we observed the place and we found out that there were some real estate [encroachments]. Of course the government also [attempting] to encroach on parts of the other areas that they allocate to the MPs and other public officers.”

Meanwhile, a separate land dispute case involves the government‘s department of Physical Planning and the community of Sukuta in the Kombo North District, West Coast Region. This resulted into a riot last week as the community threatened to employ any means possible and to endure any cost it would take to protect their lands from encroachers including the Department of Physical Planning.

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