By Mustapha Jarju
Ebrima Bojang, the Alkalo of Ballen, a border Village in Foni Kansala District said they are expecting a good farming season if the peace in the area continues around the Gambia Border.
Ballen is among the Gambia`s border Villages in the Fonis that were severely affected by the clash between the MFDC movement in the Casamance and the Senegalese soldiers in January this year which has eventually led to the internal displacement of several families from the Foni border villages.
In an exclusive interview with The Voice, Bojang said, before the beginning of the rainy season the National Assembly Member for Foni Kansala District Almameh came with “Operation Woullah Kokkon” (clean the bush) whereby the team of the Gambia National Army patrol from Kanilai to Ballen and other conflict-affected villages on the borderline. This is to assure residents of peace and stability and allow them to go clear their farm and prepare for the farming season which they heeded to.
“Before we go to our farms the bushes were inspected by the Gambian soldiers to confirm our safety to make sure that the shell remains that fell in our bushes are not trampled by either us or our animals. And we were advised to share information with the Border patrol team Commander if we find any shells or any abnormal situation in the area. I personally call the soldiers to come for some of the shells that were recovered in our farms during clearing,” Alkalo Bojang explained.
He said, most of his villagers have planted on their farms which are productively growing with high hope of a good farming season this year.
But quickly added that they don’t feel safe on their farms because anything can happen to them. “We don’t know what is exactly going to happen again after a tense fight between the Senegalese and the MFDC movement around the border area.”
Bojang said since the Conflict broke in Casamance earlier this year he still did not cross the Casamance border which is about a hundred (100) meters away from his house because is unsafe. Adding that some of their animals that cross the border still didn’t return and residents are very afraid to go after them because anything could happen to them if they get into the Casamance border, he stressed.
He went further to confirm the presence of the Military Intelligence Officers who normally patrol the area and the Patrol Team in Kanilai also patrol the area on usual bases, he said. He, therefore, called on the Gambia Government not to relent on security issues so that citizens living in that area can enjoy their human rights. “We are happy with the security provided to us by the Gambia government,” he appreciated.