By Mustapha Jallow
Members of the Gambia Police Force (GPF), the Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) and some Medical officers, have buried an unidentified body of an adult male inside the Nyambai Forest on Tuesday at 1pm, without any postmortem done before burial.
A senior Police Officer who was part of the team who buried the corpse told this medium, that the unidentified dead body was found in the forest when it started to decompose and thus, they decided to bury it forthwith.
“He was found dead and the body must have stayed long until it has started to decompose,” the Officer explained.
According to the Officer, they could not have moved the body due to the nature it was found; that the only option left for them was to bury it immediately; that the burial was done after Medical officers who were at the scene, advised them to do so, while confirming the presence of Officers of the GFRS.
Asked whether there will be an investigation into the matter, the Officer responded in the positive, saying “the matter is currently with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).”
The Officer said that they came to know about the incident from women who collect firewood from the forest.
Explaining further, the Officer said the women were afraid and unsure of what to do, when they saw the dead body; that they saw a man passing-by, stopped him and showed him the dead body; that it was the time when they informed them about the incident.
“There is no foul-play in this. We already opened a case file for investigations into the matter,” the Police Officer said; that all the statements of the witnesses (firewood collectors), were taken by the CID officers.
The Station Officer (SO) at Nyambai Police Station confirmed the mysterious story but referred this reporter to the O/C in Brikama, to give more details on the matter. He however felt that had Forestry Officers been patrolling the forest they would have come across the corpse.
Nonetheless, when this reporter contacted Essa Touray, a forestry patrol officer he said he came to know the incident, when he was on a patrol mission within the Nyambai forest. According to Touray, he received a telephone call from one of his seniors informing him about a dead body found in the forest; that upon arrival at the scene, he found officers from the Police, Health, GFRS and Intelligence Agents, whilst other officers dug a pit to bury the corpse.
He said when he enquired about the pit being dug, he was told that the dead body needed to be buried with immediate effect because the deceased was decomposing rapidly. Touray said he told them that they needed permission before burying it.
“I called my seniors and explained the matter to them and they gave the green light for the burial to take place in the forest,” he said.
Our reporter visited the scene and observed used face masks on the ground with the smell of chemical spray all over the place.
When contacted, Police Spokesperson Superintendent (Spt.) Lamin Njie, confirmed the story. Supt. Njie said the incident happened on the 9th of March 2021, when the Police received information that a body was discovered at Nyambai Forest; that the GFRS were informed, together with the Police; that they visited the scene and based on the medical advice from Health personnel, the body was buried in the forest.
Njie said the police have already opened an investigation into the matter and were able to talk to some individuals to obtain statements.
“The investigations are currently ongoing. We also urge the public especially the people who frequent the area, to cooperate with the police and provide them with the necessary information on the matter,’’ he said.
Asked whether the identity of the man was established, Spt. Njie responded thus:
“So far, the Police is able to talk to someone who said he knew the deceased; that he (the deceased) was not healthy and has been walking within the forest area. We have obtained a statement from the person,’’ he said. He added that at the end the investigations, more details such as the identity of the deceased will be known to the media.