Alikalos of Lamin, Mandinary, Kerewan and Makumbaya
By Landing Ceesay
Mr. Lamin Jarju, is accused by the Alkalos of Lamin Village, Mandinary Village, Kerewan Village, and Makoumbaya Village of selling and licensing plots of land belonging to them.
The four Alkalos’ are; Fa Ceesay, Alkalo of Mandinary Village, Kebba B. Kujabi, Alkalo of Makoumbaya Village, Abdoulie Jarjue, Alkalo of Kerewan Village, and Ebrima Bojang, Alkalo of Lamin Village. The heads of the four (4) communities told the media that Babylon is not a village but farmland belonging to the four aggrieved communities.
They also accused Mr. Lamin Jarjue of laying ownership claims to the villages of Lamin Village, Mandinary Village, Makoumbaya Village, and Kerewan Village.
The four Alkalos told the gathered media that Babylon is not recognized as a village by the authorities.
“The Alkalos of Kombo North are tired because we don’t want conflict in our communities. When people take farmers’ land from them, it is us, the Alkalos, who make the commitment to ensure that they are not dispossessed of their lands. We are tired of consoling the farmers. Let the authorities hear that.”
Lamin Jarjue has no root in Kombo North, unlike us (the four Alkalos).
“The founder of Makoumbaya Village is a warlord, who went to the founder of Yundum, to seek a place to settle. But Lamin Jarjue has no root that he can claim to inherit ownership of a village from in Kombo North. Yundum is the host of Sabiji (Sukuta), Mandinary Village, and Lamin Village. Lamin Jarju’s father came from Cassamance, learned to tailor in Senegal, and came to the Gambia for work,” Fa Ceesay, the Alkalo of Mandinary told Reporters.
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Mr. Ceesay went on to tell the Journalists that the Department of Physical Planning has confirmed that there is no village in Kombo North called Babylon, and this was the reason why they released a statement during the presidency of Yahya Jammeh making it known that Babylon is not a village in Kombo North.
Mr. Kebba B. Kujabi, the Alkalo of Makoumbaya Village, said he doesn’t remember the last time he saw Lamin Jarju.
“So if he is telling people, that, he has no problem with me, then he is lying. Lamin Jarju is a nuisance to me, my family members, and the people of my community. So I can never be on the same side as Lamin Jarjue. I am tired of going to Banjul now because of Lamin Jarjue. We knocked on the doors of the authorities, seeking help, but still, we cannot solve the problem. If the authorities cannot help us, what can we do? We are tired now.
“I found my great-grandfather (as Alikalo) bordering Lamin Village, and they never had any issue. Since I came to power, we never had a problem with Lamin Village up to date. The same goes for Kerewan Village. Ask Lamin Jarju, how many Alkalos he replaced. Because for me, I know the number of Alkalos that came before me. The one I replaced was sworn in on the 18th of February 1965 and died in 2009. So, when did Lamin Jarju come to power and whom did he replace.?” Mr. Kujabi questions Lamin Jarjue’s root.
Mr. Kebba Ansu Jammeh, a resident of Makoumbaya Village, said the land issue started around 2005 to 2006 and Lamin Jarjue is calling himself an Alkalo, saying Babylon is not a Village and that Lamin Jarjue cannot claim ownership of Babylon.
Mr. Jammeh stated that Lamin Jarjue was renting in their (Kebba Jammeh’s) family compound in Lamin Village before moving to Babylon.
“Lamin Jarju was staying with his uncle. I don’t know what happened, but he left his compound and came to our compound for rent. All his uncles are residing here in Lamin. So when was Lamin Jarju born, for him to be claiming ownership of these four villages? I am 66 years now, I know a lot about these four communities. When the Former Paramount Chief Demba Sanyang called him (Lamin Jarjue), he refused to go and answer. But one of his uncles went there on his behalf.
“There is no Inspector General of Police who is not aware of this land conflict starting from Benedict Jammeh to the current one. There is also no Chief in Kombo who is not aware of this land conflict. We also went to the Minister of Lands, and by then the late Lamin Wa Juwara was the Minister. Since that time up to date, there is no Lands Minister who is not aware of this land conflict. We also engaged the former Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Abdoulie Bojang, and the then Majority Leader of the Parliament. We also wrote to the office of the President. We met the then Interior Minister Ousman Badjie. Even the current interior minister is engaged on this issue,” Mr. Jammeh told the Journalists.
Mr. Jammeh further told Journalists that all the relevant authorities are being engaged on this issue, including Physical Planning and the Ministry of Lands. He said they tried all that they could to ensure that the matter was resolved but to no avail.
“Makoumbaya and its surrounding villages tried a lot to ensure the problem was solved. The former Paramount Chief, the late Demba Sanyang, ordered a demarcation to outline the border between the four villages to ensure that the problem was solved. But why is there no demarcation of the place? We want to know why there is still no demarcation. Lamin Jarjue makes himself an Alkalo, and we all know that Alkalorship is a tradition,” he said.
Meanwhile, Officer Commanding Brikama Division under the Gambia Police Force, Famara Sanneh, said the first land issue between Makoumbaya Village and Lamin Jarjue found him as an Assistant Station Officer at Banjulinding Police Station.
OC Sanneh said he knows everything about the land issue.
“I think we as security did what we should have. I personally arrested Lamin Jarjue (self-claim Alkalo of Babylon Village) on several occasions. I could remember there was a day we arrested him under his bed. So I think we did our part as security. Because we don’t take anyone to court, that’s not our responsibility. When we are done with our investigation, the prosecution has to take place.
“I think it is high time that Local authorities take their stand to end this conflict. The police don’t give ownership of land. We don’t take part in giving ownership of land, that’s the responsibility of an Alkalo and the Chief of the district. But if anyone wants to bring instability, if you finish the first troop, the second troop will also finish you. I am fully aware of Lamin Jarju’s problems,” he said.
OC Sanneh further told Journalists that he is going to convey the message to the highest level that it should reach so that the problem can be finally addressed.
“When I was in Banjulinding Police Station, he (Lamin Jarjue) offered me a plot of land 40 m by 40 m. But I declined the offer. My hands are clean. I told him that I rather die in poverty than enrich myself because of my position. I told him that I will never do it. This is why, I don’t even have a bicycle. When he contacted and met me at Banjulinding Police Station, then I was Assistant Station Officer (SO). I told him that I prefer having my dignity intact than losing it. I don’t want to hide when I leave service because of bad deeds. I want to be recognized because of my good deeds in uniform,” he said.
OC Sanneh advised all those who acquired plots of land through Lamin Jarjue to go to the nearest Alkalo of the four communities and settle the issue with them.
This medium will make efforts to reach Lamin Jarjue for his side of the story in our subsequent publications.