By Olimatou Coker
The Sanyang Youths Development Taskforce Committee on Thursday held a press conference to demand the unconditional release of their fellow youths who were arrested in the wake of last month’s violent riot in the village.
At least 22 youths are currently detained at the Mile II Central Prisons in connection with the incident.
Addressing journalists, the Sanyang taskforce chairman Yusupha Jobe, said: “We demand the release of our youths because it is the inaction of the government to address our concerns that is responsible for the current degeneration of the situation in our community.”
The committee chairman further noted that the violent protests came as a result of longstanding frustrations “caused by the lack of justice in the persistent environmental violations and pollution by the fishmeal factory and mining companies in Sanyang.
“We have suffered enough from the activities of the factory and we now kindly seek immediate international intervention because as long as these factories continue to exist, both our lives and livelihoods are threatened and as such natural resource related conflicts will persist,” Chairman Yusupha Jobe warned.
He said what the government needs to do is to engage the civil society and others to study the root cause of the Sanyang incident.
“Our village has lost a great man of values, positive attitude and impeccable character and devoted Muslim,” Jobe said, referring to Gibril Ceesay, the victim of last month’s homicide that sparked the riot in the village in which the fishmeal factory and police station were burnt. The police have said the mob had taken the law into their hands. The lawyer and relatives of the arrested youths have accused the police of refusing to release them even after a court order, pending the transfer of the case to another court.