With David Kujabi
The Gambia Police Force is making significant gains in stemming cross-border illegal logging and smuggling. On 13 January 2018, at a district tribunal presided over by Kanimang Sanneh Chief of Jimara, the seven Senegalese and one Gambian were fined a sum of Seven Thousand Dalasi (D7000.00) each, after they pleaded guilty. The eight were charged on two counts of felling trees without license and illegal importation of forestry products contrary to sections 27 and 4 respectively, of the Forestry Regulatory Act.
They were arrested on 16 December 2017 by police in URR during a routine night patrol in Jimara. The police chanced on them smuggling timber on horse and donkey carts. As part of the sentence, the carts and timber logs were forfeited to the Forestry Department, while the donkeys and horses were returned to the accused. Felling and smuggling of timber across the border of Gambia and Senegal are growing criminal activity in the regions of URR, CRR and LRR and police and other security forces are coordinating efforts in order to stem its rise.
On 17 November 2017 during a joint security border patrol in CRR, security personnel came across a group of men smuggling timber logs into The Gambia. On seeing the patrol team, the perpetrators fled leaving behind nine donkeys and one horse each tied to a cart loaded with timber. These were escorted to the Bansang Police Station.
Superintendent David Kujabi PRO of Gambia Police Force said that efforts made to trace the owners of the donkeys and horse has so far not been successful. He lamented that the animals are currently under police custody and it is costing a lot to feed and care for them. PRO Kujabi added that the police have consulted the Bansang Magistrate and are doing what is legally necessary to dispose of the animals through public auction.
2 gunmen arrested in CRR
Two Senegalese men armed with a locally made rifle, were on 17 January arrested by police in CRR at a security check point mounted in Choya village. The suspects named Modou Mbye aged 37 and Amat Mbye aged 36 who claim to come from Jamagajo village in Senegal were apprehended at the check point moments after it was mounted.
It could be recalled that in early December 2017, police were ordered to remove checkpoints along the highway. According to Police Commissioner Camara, after receiving directives to again mount security checkpoints in strategic areas, he deployed four personnel from Jareng Police Station to mount a check point in Choya and less than an hour of mounting it, the two accused arrived on a motorbike and a search on them revealed a locally made rifle.
Police have since extended investigations to try to ascertain if the two had any connections with an earlier case involving a woman and two her children who were held hostage by an unknown gunman in Nana Misira. Though evidence could not be garnered to connect the two to that incident, police are not dispelling the probability that they could be part of the same group. The two have been charged on three counts of Possession of unlicensed firearm; Importation of firearms imported by land and Conspiracy.
Some concerned Gambians had decried the removal of road checkpoints arguing that checkpoints did not only help prevent road traffic accidents but also helped monitor criminal activity along the highway.
Man, 22, killed in road traffic accident
Ebrima Jallow, a 22-years-old male resident of Brikama, died on 20 January 2018 from injuries he sustained in an accident the previous day. He was one of four victims admitted at EFSTH following the accident that occurred around Sting Corner on the Banjul – Serrekunda highway.
The victims were onboard an own goods sprinter vehicle with registration number BJL 0321 M that was driving from Banjul towards Serrekunda. In what eyewitnesses described as due to over speeding, the driver lost control of the vehicle and drove headlong into a packed bulldozer. The victims were first rushed to the Serrekunda Hospital and later referred to EFSTH for further medical attention. Ebrima however died the following morning from his injuries.
Road traffic accidents, often caused by over speeding and reckless driving, lead to the loss of lives or life altering injuries. The Office of Inspector General of Police calls on the general public especially drivers to strictly adhere to the road traffic regulations so as to prevent accidents.