By Louise Jobe
The Sherriff Division of the High Court has on Thursday 2nd May 2019 issued a notice to all occupants of Kunkujang Mariama to vacate the village on or before the 30th May 2019.
The notice is based on a writ of possession purportedly emanating from the Kombo South District Tribunal for a matter in which Jerreh Bojang sued for possession of the land area of Kunkujang Mariama. Jerreh Bojang of Nambara Kunda in Sanyang is said to have power of attorney for Saikou Bojang who claims the land area of Kunkujang Mariama. It is said that he sued Baba Mendy and others of Kunkujang Mariama village. But the purported judgment on which the writ relies is elusive because no one seems to be aware of it.
Mr Baba Mendy, a defendant told Foroyaa that he was not aware of any summons or judgment from the Kombo South District Tribunal concerning land in Kunkujang Mariama. Foroyaa is reliably informed that after four days of search the Sheriff Division could not trace the judgment of the district tribunal and had to suspend the execution of the writ of possession.
The Notice to the villagers dated 2nd May reads: “I write to inform you that the property you are currently occupying at Sanyang, in the West Coast Region and now rightful owned by the plaintiffs. To this end, all of you are hereby this letter warned to vacate from the said property on or before Thursday 30th May 2019. Failure to adhere to this notice will lead to your forceful eviction from the said property.”
In short, the notice is ordering more than one thousand (1000) villagers to vacate on or before 30th May 2019 or be forcefully evicted.
Kunkunjang Mariama to many people within and outside The Gambia is regarded as a holy place. Every first Saturday many people come to the village for pilgrimage. The Community has a well-established schooling system wherein surrounding communities come for their basic and secondary education.
The Chairman of the Gambia Catholic Shrine Committee Mr. Francis D. Mendy, claims that the property they are occupying belongs to the Roman Catholic Mission and showed this reporter a lease document. He talked about a ‘trespasser’ who “does not only continue to intimidate, insult or annoy Catholics in their place of worship but refused to vacate from the said land despite a notice for demolition issued to him.”
He said the land was acquired more than thirty years ago and forms part of the patrimony of the Diocese of Banjul.
Below is the context of the writ of possession dated 10 January 2018 from Kombo South District Tribunal Court addressed to the Sheriff Division of the High Court.
Parties to the case: Plaintiff –Saikou Bojang on the power of attorney for Jerreh Bojang of Nambara Kunda in Sanyang Village and the defendants are Baba Mendy and others of Kunkujang Mariama.
Writ of possession: “Whereas by the judgment of Kombo South District Tribunal Court suit no 006/ 2006 you are commanded in the name of the Gambia caused the said plaintiff Saikou Bojang on power of attorney for Jerreh Bojang of Sanyang Nambara Kunda to have possession of the said land premises with the appurtenances measuring on the sketch and whatever manner you have this writ may appear to the court immediately after the execution and you there and then this writ.”
The Chief of Kombo South, Lamin Darboe, said he is not aware of this writ of possession or the case between Baba Mendy and Saikou Bojang. Attempts to reach Ba Saikou Bojang by phone and visiting his home to get his version of the story have been unsuccessful. Foroyaa will publish his account whenever it is available.