Banjul Arch Pavilion Cracks Under Pressure, Residents scared

By Mustapha Jallow

 The pavilion at the Arch at the entrance of Banjul has cracked and fell triggering a loud booming noise making residents fearful of their lives thinking that it might be a bomb explosion. The incident happened on Wednesday, 6th September 2017, around 1 am in the morning. This information was disclosed to this medium by a security guard who was on duty that very day.

During a visit at the Arch yesterday, it was observed that the pavilion backyard’s main gate was seriously cracked and damaged. 5 inside doors and bulbs were broken but there was no sign of a bomb explosion or electricity smoke at the time of this reporter’s investigation.

A senior military explosion specialist, who prefers to be anonymous, was seen by this reporter, going in and out of the pavilion and taking photos of damage.  He told Foroyaa that he was assigned by the authorities to conduct an investigation as to whether it was an explosion or not; that what he discovered was that the explosion was the crack giving way to the immense pressure of the building. ‘‘I’ve have checked all over the area but there is no sign of bomb or electricity explosion,’’ he said.

One of the eyewitnesses, who is also a security guard at the pavilion, said it all started when he put on all the lights in the evening; that within 5 minutes, he had a loud explosive noise. ‘‘There was no light until around 1:26am in the morning, when I went and put them on. But just a few minutes later, I heard a loud noise at the backyard of pavilion. I rushed there but I noticed the dust coming out of the pavilion. Then suddenly residents nearby also started coming out thinking that it was a bomb. By this time, nobody knew the cause of the explosive noise,’’ he said. ‘‘I used my own vehicle and rushed to Fire, Rescue and Ambulance Services because I thought it was an electric short circuit. But upon arrival, it was realized that there was no fire outbreak,’’ he said.

The guard said in the morning, the place was full of busy bodied onlookers and passers-by who appeared shocked because some complain that they could not sleep as a result of the loud noise.  He said a combined security force and some government officers, visited the scene to ascertain the cause.

A shop owner within the area said that he has never heard such a heavy sound coming from the pavilion building; that he was indeed scared.

Police spokesperson, Inspector Foday Conta, said residents within the area thought the sound that came from the pavilion was a bomb; but that during their visit at the site, Police investigators realized that it was not.

‘‘Looking at the surrounding, we realize that there was no sign of a bomb device(s). We contacted the contractor who made an assessment of what happened and our investigation revealed that the sound could be as a result of contraction between the pillar, causing the top to come down amidst the loud noise,’’ he said.