By Alhagie F.S Sora
Residents of Banyaka in the Kombo South district, West Coast Region decried what they described as eviction without notice from the authorities.
Some of the residents who spoke on condition of anonymity said their household materials were thrown out and scattered by the evictors escorted by members of Police Intervention Unit (PIU).
Lamin Camara, a native of Banyaka said it was on 5th March 2014 that the group flooded their village around 2pm up to 5pm and evicted five families without prior notice.
According to Camara, the family heads affected by the exercise are Lamin Badjie, Sira Touray, Modou Ndaw, Modou Gaye and Haruna Jallow.
He informed Gambia Watchdog that none of the family heads were forewarned, and that all of them were evicted from their residences without prior notice from the authorities.
He further stated that he did not relent in his efforts to follow up on the matter by proceeding to the Sheriff’s Division at the High Court in Banjul to inform them of the eviction that took place in Banyaka.
Mr. Camara said the Sheriff told him that every lawful eviction must be backed by a notice to the occupant. He said the Sheriff further confirmed to him that he ordered for the eviction to be carried out, stressing that he was acting on the judgment between the Brufut Bojang Kunda family and the people of Banyaka village.
“When I told him that we did not receive any notice for any such activity, the Sheriff only reiterated, “Yes, I am the one who sent them to carry out the eviction.”
Malick Camara, the current Alkalo (village head) of Banyaka when contacted for his views on the eviction, said the area belongs to the people of Banyaka, adding that most of the compounds in the evicted area were given by him and his predecessor Lamin Camara the former alkalo.
The Alkalo who said he was not aware of the exercise and was not at home explained, “the said land dispute case was before the group tribunal in Brikama”, opining that the eviction may be as a result of that judgment.
However, the former Alkalo of Banyaka, Lamin Camara narrated that the land was given to them by the founder of Jamburr Village for residential purpose, complaining that their family has been living there for almost a century and no one claimed ownership until this crucial stage of development.
‘Demolisher not evictor’
Gambia Watchdog contacted Amadou Bachilly, head of demolition at the Department of Physical Planning who said that his department only carried out demolition and not eviction.
“We are only in charge of the demolition not eviction. Eviction is done by the court. The department of physical planning is only an implementing agent for the Government that is what people should understand,” Bachilly added.
For him, people should understand the function of the different arms of Government and stop leveling allegations against the wrong office for actions they are not responsible for.