PIU Officers, Others Demolish Houses

By Louie Jobe and Yankuba Jallow

Some Police Intervention Unit (P.I.U) officers joined a group of claimants in pulling down established structures in Banyaka village.

The officers visited the place during the afternoon of Tuesday May 9, 2017, when most of the males left for work. According to eye witnesses, the claimants headed by Omar Kala Bojang of Brufut, went with a group of demolishers and were in possession of heavy machinery, for destruction.

Readers could recall that two years ago, the same Omar Kala Bojang of Brufut, went there to claim ownership of an area in the village commonly known as ‘Gulf’, which resulted to a clash with some of the villagers.

Meanwhile, the Banjul High Court struck out all the claims of the appellants (Lamin Camara, Alkalo of Banyanka), claiming that the tribunal that heard the case, lacked such jurisdiction because the matter was not heard in a Kombo South District Tribunal. They also prayed for the declaration of rights, which, the court held, was not tenable.

The victims of the incident said this is the second time they were subjected to such humiliation by the same person; and that this time they are astonished, because he came with security personnel when the matter is already before the court and slated for judgment.

Barka Mbaye said he was very disappointed and bewildered.

Sources reveal that one Omar Kala Bojang of Brufut Village, Kombo North District, went with some Police Intervention Unit ( P.I.U) personnel to Banyaka Village, to forcefully carry out the eviction exercise by  demolishing buildings, fences and other permanent structures. The source disclosed that 16 houses and some newly constructed fences were destroyed.

Lamin Camara, the Alkalo, when contacted by this reporter, said he was on the errands of the Governor of West Coast Region, when he was called and informed of the exercise that was not ordered by any court of law. He said he was surprised by the action of Omar Kala Bojang and the PIU officers who accompanied him on that day, while judgment was set for the following day.

Fatoumatta Mballow, a resident and victim, said it happened in her presence when they came; that they told her to remove all her belongings in the house because they are going to demolish their house. She said she further told them ‘‘My father and mother are not here. Why not you wait for them?’’ She said they did not listen to her and went on pulling out things from the house and destroying anything that they can lay hands on indiscriminately.

Francis Gomez another victim said when they came upon discussion with them, he told them right away that they spent enough resources on the construction of the buildings, so to demolish their houses means serious things may happen; but that Omar continued to do what he did.