By Yankuba Jallow
Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officers have been seen stationed on reserved land that is said to be in dispute between the communities of Kololi and the KMC. The officers are said to have been deployed to secure this piece of land since Thursday 21st September 2017.
The officers can be seen fully equipped in riot gear and on standby for any eventuality, as they deny access to some youths for recreational purposes.
The land in dispute is used by the youths of the communities of Manjai, Kololi, Sanchaba Sulay Jobe and Kerr Sering as a recreation ground for football and other sporting activities, because such space is difficult to find. Some of the youths from these communities are of the view that the land could have been used in better ways to benefit their society. According to the current occupant, the land was bought from the Kanifing Municipal Council, making them the legal owners.
There has been some controversy between the people and those who claim legal ownership some months ago and this resulted in a peaceful demonstration of the youths of the area until one of them was arrested and charged with four counts, two of which were later dropped. The land has been fenced but the youths have smashed some parts of the fence and hanged banners bearing the words: “The land is not for Sale” and “Protect our Environment.”
Some of the youths approached the Officers to use the ground to play football but where denied access by the PIU who said they were ordered to guard the grounds and not to allow any person to play or do whatever. They told this reporter that they will seek permit today from the police to hold a peaceful protest and call on a press conference regarding their land. Efforts to speak to Police PRO proved futile as his cell phones were unreachable.
Work has currently commenced at the site and construction workers are being guarded by the PIU officers.