8 November 2017

Gambia: Kafuta, Bulock in Land Dispute

Kafuta and Bulock are locked in dispute over the ownership of land between the two villages. Kafuta is in Kombo East whilst Bulock is in Foni Berefet.

The land is believed to be between Kafuta village and the Kafuta forest but yet according to the Department of Geology, it is land owned by Bullock.

Information has reach this medium that the office of the Geology department, has issued a license to a private Company, to mine gravel from the quarry under dispute between the two villages.

Speaking to this reporter, Mr. Nfamara Omar Colley, V.D.C chairman of Kafuta Village, said the mining area is located in Kafuta village well before the border between the two villages was demarcated.

Mr. Colley said the people of Bulock have tried many times to claim the disputed area and even went to the office of the Geology Department in West Coast Region, to do this; that at the Department of Geology, they were informed that there is a gravel mining site in the area but that the office of Geology department did not make any findings to know where the area is located.

Mr. Colley explained that in recent years, the Alkalo of Bulock and his villagers wanted to use the same area to develop a community Forest but that when they came to meet the Alkalo of Kafuta village to negotiate the said land, the villagers denied them using the place.

Mr. Colley went on with his narration that they went to the Office of the Geology department to report the matter, only to be told that the land was registered under Bulock village in their records; that they wrote to the former Chief of Kombo East Basiru Jarju, the office of the Police Commissioner and the office of the Governor of West Coast but nothing has been done; that every day trucks are loaded with gravel from the area, without any development for the village.

Kata Bojang the Alkalo of Kafuta village, said he went to the area one day and upon arrival he saw trucks and people mining gravel; that in trying to find out who they were, he asked them the authority they had to mine in the area without informing him, the Alkalo of the village.

Notwithstanding he said he sent his son to call the attention of the Alkalo of Bulock village to come and answer to him but he declined; that he used his telephone and called him.

Mr. Bojang said that during their telephone conversation, he told the Alkalo of Bulock to come for them to discuss about the Land that they are mining from. "I strictly told him that the Area is located in Kombo East and not Foni Brefet," he said. "There is a Forest after the land that is ours which is named 'Kafuta Forest' and not Bullock Forest and that alone shows that the land belongs to Kafuta."

Mr. Bojang said he informed the relevant authorities about it and asked them to stop the company from mining from the Area until the dispute is resolved.

Mr. Abdoulie Cham the Director General of the Geological Department said their department is not the custodian of Land issues and their department deals with minerals and quarry mining only.

However, he noted that they are aware of the Quarry problem between Bulock and Kafuta village but was quick to quote the Geological Act which stated that all Minerals belong to the state and that the Act stated that Geological Department have no boundaries and the names of quarries are given to communities nearest to them.

Mr. Cham explained that when the company contacted their office for the quarry, they were referred to seek the consent of the land owners so that they will not think that the department deprived them of their land.

DG Cham stated that they also referred the company to all the relevant Authorities and that when the company visited the area, they found out that the occupants are from Bulock.

Mr. Badou Jawo the deputy DG said the community that would be affected by the mining is Bulock village because Bulock is closer to the quarry and the dust coming from the area will disturb them more than the residents of Kafuta village.

He said from Kafuta to the Quarry is about 4.5 kilometers and from Bulock to the Quarry is less than a kilometer.

Gambia

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