By Mustapha Jallow
Musa Suso, the Deputy Governor of the West Coast Region (WCR) has intervened in the ongoing land dispute between ‘Sukutarians,’ Salagi residents, and the State.
Deputy Governor Suso said he spoke with the Lands Minister through telephone and was granted audience with Salagi settlers for the amicable settlement of the dispute; that he will go with them to the Minister on Monday with the assurance that the matter will be resolved amicably.
Deputy Governor Suso’s intervention came in the wake of a violent confrontation between Salagi-residents and Government authorities, after several houses and building structures were demolished on 19th May 2020. For the benefit of the readership, Sukuta-Salagi is a settlement on the outskirts of Sukuta.
As a ‘Sukutarian’, Suso explained that he came to know about the issue officially, the day the residents were arrested; that he intervened by calling the Inspector General of Police for them to be granted bail, which was done.
According to Suso, this was when he further invited the concerned “Kabilo” of Sukuta to his office in Brikama for discussion on the issue.
“I have listened to them. I also decided for the Lands officials to listen to them too, because when two groups are involved in a dispute, it is the duty of the Ministry or Government to engage the parties to a discussion in order to resolve the matter,” he said.
If readers can recall, dozens of houses and fences were demolished in Sukuta-Salagi by officials of the Local Government Ministry who were accompanied by state security agents.
The exercise later resulted in a clash between security forces and residents. Thirteen people were arrested and charged for obstructing Police Officers in the execution of their duty.
Even though, there is readiness for dialogue, residents say they want to retain their lands and structures.