Gambia: Court Acquits, Discharges 12 Over Sareh Debbo Alkaloship Clash

Traveling Magistrate Omar Jabang yesterday acquitted and discharged twelve people at Bansang Magistrates' Court. They were involved in a clash over Alkaloship in Sareh Debbo village in Central River Region Upper Fulladu District.

Over the past years, the villagers have been in dispute over alkaloship and the construction of a new mosque in the village. The dispute led to a fight in which many people sustained injuries and more than 30 people were arrested by the Bansang police earlier this year.

In October last year, more than 30 people, including women and their suckling babies were earlier arrested by police in Bansang and detained for 24 hours before releasing some and charging twelve for their involvement in the dispute that led to injuries.

Magistrate Jabang acquitted and discharged the twelve people on the basis that the officials who should have been handling the case have moved from the area while some of them are on university program. He said one of them is preparing to go to Darfur for a mission.

He said he had travelled from Basse to Bansang on two occasions, wasting government resources while the case did not proceed. "Also, majority of the people involved in the case are farmers," he said.

Baldeh Kunda family, who were represented by lawyer Babadinding Jobarteh said they were not satisfied with the way the case was handled, saying there were no charges levied against the offenders.

Last week, the National Council of Elders which was established to lead social issues in communities led the alkaloship dispute settlement negotiation in Sareh Debbo village.

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