By Hatab Nyang
Reports have it that the police are to investigate the grievances of the Gunjur Sambuya protestors.
Some youths from Gunjur Sambuya and the satellite areas had mounted a blockade for trucks not to enter Gunjur Sand mining area. This act commenced after working hours Tuesday, 18th June 2019. They had intended to stay at the mining area both day and night until their demands are met. The Police Intervention Unit arrived at the scene at about 2 am on Wednesday and engaged them in a dialogue. The result was a dialogue at the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police in Banjul attended by the Alkalo, Geeki Darboe, the council of elders of Gunjur, Lamin Jassey and Musa Manjang, Chairman and Public Relations Officer of Gunjur Youth Association (GYA) respectively.
Reliable sources reveal that the police promised to share their findings with relevant stakeholders in a bid to come up with a solution. Meanwhile the youths have withdrawn their blockade of the mining area awaiting the outcome of the police investigation promised by the Deputy IGP.
GYA had earlier written letters endorsed by the VDC and the Alkalo of Gunjur to 7 departments last week complaining about the adverse effect of the sand mining that is taking place in Gunjur Sambuya. They threatened in their letter that if the authorities don’t intervene quickly, they are going to stop mining activities in the area.
Unity Mining bought the site from a Clan in Gunjur called Konoto Kabilo.
The complaint of the youths is that the mining has gone off limit. They argue that the site is close to the sea and the mining activities are destroying the women’s gardens and some private properties such as fences.
Habby Njie a woman gardener in Sambuyang said mining in the area is destroying their gardens which they rely on for sustenance, including payment of school fees for their children. She said following the commencement of mining in their vicinity, she went to the mining company for negotiations but to no avail. She said they got no compensation and their livelihood is under threat. She said she went to the Company many times to seek for compensation but all they said is that they found no trees in her garden. She concluded that the lack of a garden resulted to loss of income. She said her two kids who are attending grades 9 and 10 respectively have stopped going to school because she did not have the means to pay their school fees.
Aminata Keita daughter of Habby Njie (a gardener in the area) said she had stopped going to t Brufut Senior Secondary School because her mum could not pay her school fees.