Wednesday, November 29

We need our forest back, says Manduar Community

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By Nicholas Bass

Magistrate Isatou Dabo on 27th June 2022, presided over a land dispute of the inhabitances of Manduar who had accused Jerreh Bojang, Ebrima Kebbeh, Alasana Bah and Manding Kuyaiteh of taking the community forest as their personal property.

Pa Saikou Bojang, the third witness of Manduar community testified that ‘’I, Pa Saikou Bojang did not know that part of the forest of Manduar community was sold by Marakissa community,’’ he declared when he was opposed by Jerreh Bojang.

The former Councilor of Manduar community, Lamin Jarju also said at the court during the hearing that, ‘’we (Manduar community) applied for a sanction in 2009 from the Brikama Magistrates Court on this forest but we were denied. ‘’

Upon hearing this, Magistrate Isatou Dabo said she would be going on a site visit on Monday, 27th June 2022 by 2:00 pm to Manduar community forest to gather first-hand information on the community forest case.

In an interview with The Voice Newspaper Babucarr A. Sowe, the chairman of Manduar village development committee stated that Manduar community land was  5.6 Kilometers equivalent to 181 hectares of land which was approved and signed by stakeholders in 1999. These stakeholders, he said, include Ebrima K. Sarr, the Governor of the West Coast Region, Jato Sillah, the director of Forestry, and Bakary S. Bojang the Chief of West Coast who also signed the Manduar community Forestry document.

‘’Six months were given for Marrakissa and Penyem communities to claim any plot of land within the land allocated for Manduar community Forest, but none of them come forward to claim’’ the Village Development Committee (VDC) Chairman Sowe lamented. He also accused Lamin Kongira of taking 41 hectares of land from Manduar Community Forest.

In a similar vein but different case, Magistrate Isatou Dabo also presided over the case of Momodou B. Bah who was accused of trespassing into the house of Cherno Sowe at Farato, Kombo North in West Coast Region.

Appearing before the Magistrate, Momodou B. Bah pleaded not guilty.

However, Magistrate Isatou Dabo said the accused, Modou B. Bah, has violated section 285, Cap number 10 in volume 3 of the Gambia laws 2009 and therefore, is fined to pay a sum of D50,000.00 (fifty thousand dalasi). The case was adjourned to the 10th August 2022 continuation.