By Omar Bah
Alhagie Kebba Touray, the Chief of Niamina East, has called on President Adama Barrow to quickly intervene in a land dispute between the people of New Jafaye and Kudang amid threats of violence.
The chief said he has reported the matter to the Governor but the reaction has been slow and now wants the government to understand that the situation could get out of hand any moment, especially when the rains start.
“The government should act with urgency because both villages are prepared to farm on the same land and that will almost certainly lead to violence,” Seyfo Touray warned.
He said New Jafaye, founded in the late 80s, have since been farming in the area and nobody has claimed ownership of the land until this year when one Jatta Sabally claimed that the land is owned by his late
He said when the case was reported to him, he made his investigations and ruled in favor of New Jafaye.
“But few days later I received a letter which indicates that my ruling was overturned by a team set up by the Governor who split the land into two halves and shared it between the villages, a decision which Jafaye refused to accept because they believe what rightly belongs to them has been shared,” he said.
New Jafaye version
Bakary Janha, the senior son of the New Jafaye Alkalo, said the villagers have been on the land for over 36 years and that nobody had ever claimed ownership of it until this year.
Mr Janha added that the two villages have already begun confronting each other and matters can get worse.
Manding Fatty, who is among the oldest in New Jafaye, said the two villages have always been close friends and they have since shared a boundary that was identified by the ancestors.
Sambou Ceesay, the Alkalo of Kudang said his people own the land and that it was just given to the people of Jafaye for temporary use back in the 80s by his late father.
“And I want to tell you that unless something is done, things can be dangerous if the people of Jafaye want to stop us from farming on the land. Because even the land the village is located was given to them by Kudang…So they have no right to claim ownership of the land,” he warned.
Jatta Sabally, who is claiming ownership of the land, said his late grandfather owned the land and that his family wants it back.