Alhagie F. Sora
Foroyaa has received reports that a demolition exercise had taken
place at the settlement of Babylon in the Kombo North district on Wednesday, 25 February 2015.The complainants explained that the demolition started from 11am and
ended around 3pm, leaving in its wake the destruction of more than 30
built compounds. They claimed that a bulldozer under the escort of
Police Intervention Unit (PIU) personnel carried out the demolition of
Modou Lamin Sanyang, a compound owner and victim of the demolition,
told this reporter that they were not given any notice and that those
who came to pull down their buildings only said to them that they have
orders from the top.
Mr. Sanyang said this is not the first time to witness such an
experience. “This is the second time my compound was demolished and
there is no place where I can go to explain my ordeal and seek for
redress,” he said.
He claimed that he went to the police on several occasions and gave
his complaint but that their response has always been that there is
no settlement called Babylon, adding that the chief of the district has
also not made any comment when informed about it.
Haddy Bah, another victim, confirmed the demolition of houses
including her own. She said when the demolition team arrived together
with the armed security personnel, she was asked to remove all her
belongings inside the house and then leave the place as they are
coming to pull the building down.
“When I asked them why they are doing this they responded that they
are acting on orders,” said the middle aged woman.
They claimed that the vehicle has a registration number GG0943A.
Two other women namely Kajatou Bah and Kumba Bah have both confirmed
that they were not given any prior notice to vacate the area but only
told to move out on that very day based on orders from above.
They said all the victims have now been reduced to becoming homeless families.
When this reporter visited the office of the Hage Group in Bijilo to
enquire about the claims of the victims that it was their company’s
bulldozer which carried out the demolition, the manager denied having
been contracted to conduct any such thing.
Visiting the Physical Planning department to get the official version
yesterday, Wednesday, 11 March, Mr. Ismaila Kah, the deputy director,
said he has just resumed work from vacation and knew nothing about the
issue and that the director is presently out of the country.
When approached, Mr. Lamin Jawara of the Development Control Unit of
Physical Planning department said that they are not mandated to speak
to the press.
Foroyaa will contact the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands and
Regional Government, to ask whether the order came from the government.
Alhagie F. Sora