Sukutarians speak to press after bail over land tussle

Jun 10, 2020, 12:19 PM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

The people of Sukuta who were arrested in the midst of land tussle with government on Tuesday spoke to journalists at the Brusubi Police Station days after they were granted bail.

According to them, they reported on police bail as a result of their arrest and detention by security forces sometime back during the demolition exercise carried out by Physical Planning, who claimed that the Salaji Layout is government reserve land.

Speaking to journalists at the police station, Fatou Jaw Manneh, former U.S.-based Gambian journalist said that during the month of Ramadan, 16 Sukutarians were arrested and charged for resisting a demolition exercise that took place at the Salagi Layout area, a place Sukuta claims belongs to them.

“So as a result of that, we were arrested and charged, and later bailed by our people, and today we are here to report on bail and now they extended the bail to the 23rd of this month.

“We would go and decide and talk to our lawyer and see what we’re going to do next because we are the victims, they are the ones who came and assaulted us and demolished our compounds.”

On the issue of compensation, Madam Jaw-Manneh told journalists that it’s not true, describing it as a criminal act. She added that her name was mentioned that she was part of the compensation but that’s not true.

“I want to make it very clear that I did not receive any compensation from the Physical Planning because what they did was to take your land and give it others. That is not compensation; instead, they are trying to knock our heads together in the community.”

Jerry Sanyang, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Lands, Buba Sanyang and Kebba Ceesay from Physical Planning are the people behind this, she said, adding that ‘they came and took people’s land, telling us that they were going to build market or schools and at the end of the day they took those lands and sold them.’

She said government should ensure that citizens live in harmony, but they are the one creating chaos between the new settlers and the old settlers.

Lamin Cham, known as Lamboy, said Physical Planning was behind all these problems, adding they used the security forces against us, arresting us on no ground.