By Tabora Bojang
Alagie Camara, Sainey Sonko, Alagie Kujabi and Dawda Daffeh, all natives of Faraba have told The Standard that they haven’t received any money as compensation despite being told they were eligible by a valuation committee.
Daffeh, Camara and Sonko all claimed they sustained gunshot wounds during the bloody riots of June 2018 in the village where 3 people were killed as Police Intervention Unit clashed with youths protesting against a mining contract in the village. The men also claimed they testified at the Faraba commission and that one of them, Alagie Kujabi had his property including a Mercedes Benz destroyed in the melee.
Narrating their story, Dawda Daffeh said following the conclusion of the inquiry, regional authorities including Governor Lamin Sanneh, Chief Bakary Sanyang convened a meeting in Faraba at which they [victims] were informed that President Barrow has rolled out a compensation scheme and they are eligible. “Our names were called at that meeting and we were informed to open bank accounts with Eco-Bank. We all did this and were told the money would be deposited anytime from then. We later understood that other victims were receiving their money and that was when we also went to the bank only to be told that there was no money in our account. We were made to understand this money is between the Ministry of Finance and Local Government and we made follow ups with the Governor, Ministry of Lands, Office of the Ombudsman and recently the Human Rights Commission but we have not heard anything until today,” Daffeh stated.
Another victim, Alagi Kujabi said they have no idea why it took too long for them to receive their compensation when others have got theirs. “In fact, we are made to understand that the money had arrived at the bank but was returned to the National Treasury and we don’t know what is responsible for that,” Kujabi added. Alagie Camara also explained that they took up the matter with the West Coast Governor Lamin Sanneh who on several occasions acknowledged their concerns but would refer them to the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government. “We visited the Ministry of Local Government more than ten times and during our last visit we met one Buba Sanyang [PS] but he told us that our BBAN [Basic Bank Account Number] were not accurate and gave us another BBAN but when we took it to the Bank the Branch Manager told us that there were no problems with the BBAN and that the money has not reached our accounts”, Camara explained. “We cannot understand why all persons whose properties were vandalized were compensated except us. Each time we went to Eco Bank we were told there is no money in our accounts”, he lamented.
The four said they want President Barrow and the government to pay their compensations and end their suffering.
On June 18th 2018 a bloody riot in Faraba claimed three lives when youths protested against land mining leading to a confrontation with officers of the Police Intervention Unit who fired live ammunition at demonstrators killing Ismaila Bah, Bakary Kujabi and Amadou Nyang and wounding at least six others. Two caterpillars, five trucks, a police guard post and four compounds were set ablaze and burnt down with several others vandalized. A commission of inquiry which was instituted and led by lawyer Emmanuel Joof to look into the circumstances surrounding the bloody riots, recommended among others the prosecution of PIU officers and compensation of victims.