Unresolved Land Dispute Requires Immediate Intervention of Authorities

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By Louise Jobe 

An unresolved land dispute between villagers of Suluko and SareJama in the Jarra Central District of the Lower River Region (LRR) requires urgent attention from Government authorities, particularly the Ministry of Lands and Regional Governments. 

This land dispute has been ongoing for the past twenty-two years, despite an injunction from the Mansa Konko Magistrates Court which restrained both parties from engaging in any farming or similar activity on the disputed land. The land dispute has since been referred to the Banjul High Court awaiting a final decision. 

Lamin Babai Ceesay, the Alkalo of Suluko village in the Jarra Central District of the Lower Region, told Foroyaa on Tuesday, 4 June 2024,  of the unresolved land dispute between his village, Suluko, and the neighboring Sare Jama in Jarra Central, which started 22 years ago.

According to Mr. Ceesay, the neighboring village of SareJama is claiming ownership of their farmland. 

Alkalo Ceesay alleged that the villagers of SareJama had carried out several attacks on his village since 2002 by seizing their farmlands, despite a court injunction restraining both parties from using the said lands.

According to Alkalo Ceesay, the case was first reported to the former District Seyfo, Chief Haruna Sabally, and the late former Governor of the Region, Mr. Momodou Soma Jobe. He said the case was also heard at the Mansa-konko Magistrate’s Court but was later referred to the Banjul High Court, where it still awaits a ruling.

Alkalo Ceesay said despite the High Court’s pending decision and the Mansa Konko Magistrate Court’s injunction restraining them from doing any activity on the said land, the people of SareJama continued to clear the land area and do their farming activities by planting cashew trees. 

Alkalo Ceesay said he wants the immediate intervention of the authorities, particularly the Minister of Lands, to amicably resolve the issue, adding that if they do not take action before the rainy season starts, the problem can get out of hand. 

Alkalo Ceesay said they have been patient for a long time by adhering to the Court injunction from the Mansa Konko Magistrates Court, despite relying entirely on farming to live and earn income. 

On the relationship between the two communities before the dispute started in 2002,

AlkaloCeesay said the villagers of Suluko and Sare Jama had always lived in peace until the time when the matter was reported to Haruna Sabally who became Chief of the District at this point, and when the late Momodou Soma Jobe became Governor of LRR. He said former Governor Soma Jobe ordered the demarcation of boundaries of the two villages which he said was done, but said no fruitful outcome came out of the dispute since 2002.

On his final words of concern to the authorities, Alkalo Ceesay said he wants them, particularly the Ministry of Lands and Regional Governments, to take immediate action for peace and stability in the communities.