Demolition of compounds in Babylon


Alhagie F. Sora Foroyaa has received reports that a demolition exercise had takenA demolished building at Babylon place at the settlement of Babylon in the Kombo North district on Wednesday, 25 February 2015.The complainants explained that the demolition started from 11am and ended around 3pm, leaving in its wake the destruction of more than 30 built compounds. They claimed that a bulldozer under the escort of Police Intervention Unit (PIU) personnel carried out the demolition of the structures. Modou Lamin Sanyang, a compound owner and victim of the demolition, told this reporter that they were not given any notice and that those who came to pull down their buildings only said to them that they have orders from the top. Mr. Sanyang said this is not the first time to witness such an experience. “This is the second time my compound was demolished and there is no place where I can go to explain my ordeal and seek for redress,” he said. He claimed that he went to the police on several occasions and gave his complaint but that their response has always been that there is no settlement called Babylon, adding that the chief of the district has also not made any comment when informed about it. Haddy Bah, another victim, confirmed the demolition of houses including her own. She said when the demolition team arrived together with the armed security personnel, she was asked to remove all her belongings inside the house and then leave the place as they are coming to pull the building down. “When I asked them why they are doing this they responded that they are acting on orders,” said the middle aged woman. They claimed that the vehicle has a registration number GG0943A. Two other women namely Kajatou Bah and Kumba Bah have both confirmed that they were not given any prior notice to vacate the area but only told to move out on that very day based on orders from above. They said all the victims have now been reduced to becoming homeless families. When this reporter visited the office of the Hage Group in Bijilo to enquire about the claims of the victims that it was their company’s bulldozer which carried out the demolition, the manager denied having been contracted to conduct any such thing. Visiting the Physical Planning department to get the official version yesterday, Wednesday, 11 March, Mr. Ismaila Kah, the deputy director, said he has just resumed work from vacation and knew nothing about the issue and that the director is presently out of the country. When approached, Mr. Lamin Jawara of the Development Control Unit of Physical Planning department said that they are not mandated to speak to the press. Foroyaa will contact the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands and Regional Government, to ask whether the order came from the government.]]>