The Alkalo of Makka Farafenni in North Bank Region has refuted claims by his Kubandar counterpart that the land at the centre of a hot dispute between the two communities belongs to the village of Kubandar.
It would be recalled that Alkalo Lamin Mambury of Kubandar sometime ago granted an interview to The Standard in which he made an appeal to the authorities to reign on the community of Makka Farafenni to return what, he said, was their ancestral land.
The Kubandar Alkalo told this medium that the community of Makka Farafenni had reneged on their promise of giving them back their ancestral land after it was given to them by the now-deceased elders of Kubandar.
Mambury in that interview called on the authorities to restrain Makka Farafenni from tilling the land until such time that the crisis is laid to rest.
But in a strong rebuttal of Alkalo Mambury’s claim of Kubandar’s ownership of the disputed territory, Babucarr Touray, a son of the Alkalo of Makka Farafenni, said Kubandar Alkalo’s claim was inaccurate.
“I want to state that the information was misleading because the farmland belongs to Makka Farafenni and not Kubandar,” Touray stated.
Giving a context to the story, Touray narrated that Makka Farafenni was founded by their grandparents in 1892.
“The farmland that the Alkalo of Kubandar was referring to was cleared by our grandfathers and our fathers in 1952. It was a virgin land and since then, we have been cultivating it,” he claimed.
Touray added: “The people of Kubandar cannot claim ownership over the land because the area was not given to us by them. As a matter of fact, a wild bush of about two kilometers separated our land and Kubandar which no one has ever farmed. We have both title and possessory rights over the farmland under dispute and we won’t give up. The farmland belongs to us and not Kubandar. The land area they are claiming stretches up to our village Bantaba which means it cannot belong to Makka Farafenni because the other end is inside Senegal.”
Touray said the dispute has reached the Illiasa District Tribunal on two occasions but was dismissed by Chief Ebrima Jammeh.
“There is no court judgment, regarding the said disputed farmland and we will continue to use it for the cultivation of crops,” Touray emphasized.
He said Makka Farafenni is a non-violent community and urged Kubandar to resort to the court.