By Nelson Manneh
The Gambia Police Force has on 21st and 22nd February 2021 arrested seven people over a land dispute involving Basori and Duwasu.
The land dispute started on Sunday 21st February 2021 and two people were arrested on that day. The following day, while people from Basori were at the Brikama Police Station demanding for the release of those arrested, five others were arrested bringing the total to seven.
Youth from Basori were seen at the Brikama Police Station chanting for the release of their friends and relatives. They claimed that their colleagues and relatives have not done anything that should warrant the police to arrest them.
Lamin Jabang the Alkalo of Basori said part of the land in dispute belongs to the people of Basori. He said the landowners have planted cashew trees on the land in dispute.
“When the whole issue started the former Seffo of Kombo East told us to stop going to the said lands until when the problem is solved and my villagers stopped going there. Recently we were informed that the people of Duwasu were selling those lands,” he said.
The Alkalo said his people went to the bush and discovered that their cashew trees were cut down and part of their lands were already sold by people from Duwasu.
He said they want the authorities to establish ownership of the lands so that the rightful owners would have access to their property.
Omar Jammeh a native of Basori said the dispute over the piece of land has protracted for more than five years and the matter was reported to the former chief of Kombo East Basiru Jarju.
“The people of Duwasu know that the land does not belong to them and they are selling these lands to other people for D15,000. That is why we went there on Sunday to make sure that they stop selling these lands because it does not belong to them,” he said.
Mr. Jammeh said they have reported the matter to Giboro Police Station, but the police have not taken any meaningful action to resolve the issue.
“We want the authorities to resolve this problem once and for all otherwise we will never relent on our struggle to get back our lands. We will make sure that we take our lands back,” he noted.
Alhagie Lamin Sanneh the Governor of West Coast Region told this medium that he was informed about the land dispute some weeks ago.
“I invited the two parties in to my office and I discussed with them for us to trace the ownership of the said lands, because those lands they are claiming cannot be owned by the whole village,” he said.
Governor Sanneh said he was surprised when he was informed that there was a dispute between the two villages.
“I will invite them to my office again and if we cannot establish the rightful owners of the said lands, the lands would be forfeited to the state and the state will own them,” he said.
At the time of going to press, this reporter contacted the spokesperson of the Gambia Police Force for him to confirm the exact number of people arrested and their names, but he could not be reached on phone.
This reporter went to Duwasu, but he could not meet the Alkalo of the village.