URR local authorities urged to address caste system

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ousman Sowe, the director general of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) has advisedlocal authorities including traditional and religious leaders in the Upper River Region (URR) to address the issue of caste system.

He acknowledged that this phenomenon was not a problem in the region before, but it’s has become an issue in recent times.

DG Sowe was speaking recently during a meeting with district chiefs, security heads, religious and opinion leaders of URR at the Governor’s Bantaba in Basse-Mansajang; as part of his ongoing countrywide tour with the view to assessing and consolidating the SIS National Security Belt Initiative (NSBI).

The issue of caste system has become a problem in the region particularly within the Sarahulleh communities in recent times. Last year, violence erupted between the so-called slave and noble clans at villages; such as Diabugu Batapa and Garawol both in URR, resulting in the injury of so many youths.

“When peaceful condition prevails in a society, all activities take place in their proper form. Therefore, my fundamental objectives are to ensure that we have security belt across the country from Koina to Kartong,” Mr. Sowe said.“We must work together to ensuring that some of the issues that are affecting our communities particularly issues of caste system and also people confronting security personnel who are executing their duties are addressed immediately,” he told the URR authorities.

According to him, the reason of establishing an SIS command in URR north is to ensure that peace and stability continue to prevail in the area and the region at large. “Today in The Gambia, you can go by your own business without any impediment. However, we need to team up in ensuring that this trend is maintained. I want the country to have all inclusive security approach.”

Maintenance of peace and stability, Mr. Sowe added, is everybody’s business and therefore all hands must be on deck towards the crusade. “If things go bad, we the security should be blamed. To ensure that peace and stability continues to prevail in the country is everybody’s responsibility,” he stated.

Part of President Barrow’s priorities, SIS DG said, is to ensure that the peace and stability that the country is known for continues so that the country can achieve rapid socio-economic development. He added that that was why they are working 24 hours to ensure that the president’s desire is achieved. 

“We need to address the issue of caste system within the region before it escalates,” he said,adding problems of such nature started in other countries like that.

“People that are in the tendency of attacking security personnel when they are on their operations must stop. Opinion leaders must work with security personnel in addressing the menace,” he emphasised.  

The State Intelligence Service DG also presented mobiles phones to district chiefs and security heads in the region. The mobiles phones, he explained, were meant to facilitate easy communication among them so that suspected wrongdoing is quickly reported to relevant authorities.

Regional Governor Fanta Bojang Samateh-Manneh said that security is everybody’business, adding that it’s a crosscutting issue.

“We all know the tremendous effort DG Sowe is doing in the country,” she said.“We must support him to achieve his desired goals. People were afraid of the NIA, but with SIS, we now work together. Therefore, we should give them the necessary information,” she said.

The chief of Wuli West District, Chockeh Jallow, also expressed similar sentiments on the significance of peace and stability.

Author: Momodou Jawo