Saturday, January 28

Family Denies Allegation for cutting down Cashew Trees in Kunkujang Mariama

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By Louise Jobe 

Karamo Bojang of Sanyang Village has denied the allegation that they were responsible for cutting down seven (7) cashew trees on a farm at Kunkujang Mariama.

Over seven (7) cashew trees were chopped down at a plantation belonging to Baba Mendy and Samuel Mendy of Kunkujang Mariama by unknown people.

Baba Mendy said he was in Guinea Bissau at the time of the incident, but he suspected Musa Jarju. He said his family confronted Musa about the damage and he (Musa Jarju) told them that Malamin Bojang of Tujereng Village, Karamo Bojang and Demba Bojang of Sanyang Village assigned him and some others to clear the land. Mendy said the barbed wire fence of his cashew farm was also destroyed.

Musa Jarju told Foroyaa that the elders of Nambara Kunda Kabilo of Sanyang Village gave them the land to build a mosque and settle there. Musa denied participating in cutting down the trees, but he could remember seven (7) trees were chopped down by youths from Touba in Banyaka. Musa said the youth were assigned by Karamo Bojang of the Nambara Kunda Kabilo to cut down the cashew trees and pull down the barbed wire fence. Musa argued that the land is in Sanyang and not in Kunkujang Mariama.

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In 2015, the land was a subject of litigation at the Brikama Magistrate’s Court but judgment was delivered in favour of Baba Mendy by Magistrate (now Justice) Sidi K. Jobarteh in the matter of Baba Mendy versus Sherifo Bojang, Solo Bojang, Musa Jarju, Demba Bojang and Alasana Sanneh. Eight (8) years later, the same Musa Jarju and some others from the Bojang Kunda family allegedly returned to the same land and demarcated the whole land to people.

The affected plantations belong to Baba Mendy and Samuel Mendy (Baba’s cousin). Aside from the 7 chopped down trees, the invaders trimmed several other trees. The cashew owners suspected one Musa Jarju of Kunkujang Mariama allegedly with assistance from some of his friends.

Mendy said the cashews began producing flowers at the time they were cut down and he proceeded to report the matter to Tujereng Police Station matter. The victim said the damage is huge to him and his family because of the economic benefit the cashews bring them.

Mendy asserted that his parents have been farming on that piece of land since the 1940s and they have been paying their rates to Tujereng until the 1970s when Kunkujang Mariama had their own alkali, one Paul Mendy. He said the cashew plant belongs to their family as an inheritance from their parents.

Malamin Bojang of Tujereng Village when contacted by this reporter over the phone said he has no knowledge or idea about the destruction that took place on the said land. He denied ever sending anyone or participating in the destruction of the cashew trees.

Karamo Bojang of Kombo Sanyang village said he was not aware of the cutting down of seven cash trees and the trimming of others that happened at the plantation. However, Bojang told Foroyaa that the Kombo South District Tribunal passed judgment in favour of him (Karamo Bojang). He said he was expecting the Sheriff Division of the High Court to cut down the cashew trees on the said land, but yet to effect the exercise.

Karamo Bojang said planting cashew trees on someone’s land does not make you the owner.

“If someone planted cashew trees on somebody’s plot of land when the owner of the land needs his land, can’t the person who planted the plants remove the plantations?,” Bojang quizzed.

When further asked about who gave the land to Musa Jarju and the unknown people to settle, Karamo Bojang responded that he was not interested to disclose the information.

Lamin Drammeh, a Forestry Officer in the Region who works at the West Coast Regional Office confirmed the damage done on the cashew farm, adding some forest trees were cut down. Drammeh said throughout the past weeks, similar problems occurred in Busura, Gunjur and others communities within the Kombo South District. He said at Busura village, the Alkalo’s cashew trees were cut down allegedly by some family members of Gunjur Touray Kunda who were claiming ownership of the land.

Drammeh said they are not interested as to who the owners are but their concern is about deforestation. He said cutting down trees in the forest without acquiring a license from the Department of Forestry is against the Forestry Act. He stressed that a person could be found liable for a criminal offence for cutting down trees or setting out a fire in the forest.

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