14 June 2018

Gambia: Vicar General Harps On Taneneh Cemetery, Land Disputes

In the wake of events regarding the land dispute involving the residents of Taneneh village about their cemetery, the Vicar General Rev. Father Emil Sambou, has expressed his views and concerns on the issue of the burial site and the emergence of land disputes affecting mainly Christian settlements. Father Sambou spoke to this reporter in his office in Kanifing on Monday June 11th 2018.

Police in the midst of mourners and grave diggers at the cemetery

Father Sambou said that the best among persons is the one who makes life better for others by building a good relationship with people; that it is unfortunate that the compromise agreement that was struck in the presence of Government Ministers, could have been done among good neighbours; that in any gathering of people, there are disputes and agreements; that as human beings, we agree to disagree and disagree to agree on all matters; but that the matter of a burial site for a whole community, could have been settled in good neighbourliness; that the Minister of Lands told them that with the case of the land in question, the owner has documents to show that he bought the place and ownership transfer was done.

"I do not have problems with that. But before the owner bought the said land, he attested that he found burial tombs in the place. That should have given him the idea that he was buying the wrong place," the Rev. Father said. Father Sambou expressed disappointment with those authorities concerned, who were not able to see that the land about to be sold was the wrong one; that the authorities who should have known better, appended their signatures on the documents knowing that people were buried on the land they sold.

"I am seriously disappointed when I saw what they did to those graves," said Father Sambou. The Rev. Father said as preachers of peace, they will never tell anyone to reach for their goals through violence; that their business as peace makers and preachers, is to make sure that violence is rooted out of our society. Father Sambou said there is talk of a place allocated to the community, but that he has not seen it yet. Father Sambou said as human beings, we should treat each other as equals; that no material, wealth or creed make one to be superior than his fellow human being; that the human being is the only creature on earth that God created with intellect.

"We should respect each other and live on good neighbourliness and good relations. This issue should not be taken lightly and pushed aside. It is delicate issue and the Executive should act to see to it that it does not happen in this New Gambia we are all talking about. We should be reasonable in our actions. As human beings, God has given us intellect so that we can reason, feel and think. The era of suppression is over.

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