Land dispute violence between the villagers of Niamina Sambang has left three people seriously injured. The long-protracted land dispute was between the Mandinka and the Fulani tribes. The disputed farmland is located outside the village.
It was this past Saturday that the Fulani farmers came under attack. The Mandinka villagers asked them to vacate the land, which resulted into the clashes. One Mandinka resident was injured. Two Fulani ladies were stabbed with axes during the clash. They were attacked in their homes.
The three injured victims were taken to Niamina Dankunku Clinic before being escorted to a hospital. They were treated and discharged.
John Bah lives in Niamina Sambang Fulakunda. John tells Freedom Radio Gambia in an interview that the disputed land was subjected to legal litigation. He says the courts had ruled that the land belongs to the Fulani community in Sambang. But for some reasons Bah says the Mandinka community maintained that the land was theirs.
According to John Bah, there are two farmlands in the disputed area. One of the lands belongs to the Mandinkas, and the other belongs to the Fulanis. He says regional chiefs in the country had visited the disputed the land in the past and they all agreed that the farmland in question belongs to the Fulanis.
Bah went on to explain the historical story of Niamina Sambang. He said the Fulanis were the first settlers of the village. He added that the Damphas of Niamina Katamina, later joined them in the village. He says there is a paperwork to confirm his assertion.
Kemo Sowe is a native of Niamina Sambang. He now lives in Seattle Washington. He is currently on a visit to The Gambia.
Sowe said the regional Governor of the Central River Region is partly to be blamed for the land dispute, which is now descending to tribal tensions. He said it was the Governor, who asked the Fulani residents to allow the Mandinkas to use the land in the past farming season despite the fact the matter had been legally settled.
Sowe says the villagers of Niamina Sambang had been living in peace and harmony over the years. He added that there has never been land dispute between the two tribes during the administration of former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara and the erstwhile dictator Jammeh’s rule.
“Farmland dispute is happening in our village during Adama Barrow’s rule. Communities have been attacking each other with axes and cutlasses. Three people were injured over the weekend because of a farmland dispute. The personnel of the police intervention unit (PIU) have been deployed to the farmland and the village to maintain peace. No one has been arrested since the incident,” Sowe remarked.
“If the government had acted when the Freedom Newspaper reported the first incident, I do not think there would have been any injuries among the villagers. I am appealing to President Adama Barrow and his government to intervene in the Niamina Samba land dispute. This is getting out of hand. Communities can’t no longer pray in the same mosque now. It is now becoming tribal. We are living in a diverse community. You can hardly see a Mandinka family not having a Fulani in their families; the same thing happens among the Fulanis. I myself I had a Mandinka ethnic leaning,” he said.
Written By A Staff Writer