Gambia’s police spokesman Superintendent lamin Njie says 21 people have sustained various degrees of injuries during the Niamina Sambang communal land dispute violence. Speaking to the Freedom Newspaper on Wednesday, Njie said the injured residents were hospitalized at the Dankunku health center. He says some of the hospitalized residents have since been discharged.
“What we understand for now, the dispute started with one individual that was passing with his donkey in the other person’s farmlands, so, an altercation ensured between the two of them and this degenerated into an actual violence between the two communities. So far for now, the police are able to gather the fact that several people were involved in this dispute and about 21 people have sustained various degrees of injury,” Superintendent Njie remarked.
Villager Kumba Sore’s house was among the homes set ablaze. Her husband was chased by a villager, who was armed with a cutlass. He ran away, leaving Mrs. Sowe and the family behind.
She says all her belongs have been burnt to ashes. Food items such as rice, cooking oil, clothes, money, and other valuables had perished when her home was set ablaze during land dispute communal violence. She is blaming the other community for the incident.
Kumba and her family are now homeless, living with other relatives in the village. This is not the first time that Kumba Sowe had been attacked.
She says she suffered a similar fate last year when violence erupted in the community. She was sitting home minding her business when she got attacked and injured on the head. She says she was never part of the land dispute violence and couldn’t understand why she should be assaulted.
An eighty-year-old man local shop owner was also attacked during the incident, villagers said. He was at his shop when an angry mob accosted him. He was beaten by his attackers. The attackers were armed with traditional weapons.
Bakary Jallow hails from the region where the incident happened.
“The communal land dispute in Niamina Sambang is devastated. It is very serious and then it is causing a lot of hazard in area, which is affecting almost everybody; people who have been living together in harmony, as one family for over decades of years, over centuries, have today turned out into rivals,” Jallow remarked
The first contingent of the police intervention unit, who were deployed to quell the communal unrest couldn’t defuse the fight. They had to call for a reinforcement from George town.
The disputed land had been a subject of litigation in the courts.
” I understood Niamina Fula won the case and I was still informed that these people didn’t agree and then they appeal to the higher courts and then still Niamina Fulla won the case. So, automatically I don’t think the problem that happen today should have really existed based on what the courts have decided,” Jallow added.