By Muhammed S. Bah
The reintroduction of a military checkpoint at Kamalo near the Cape Point junction, in addition to the one at Denton Bridge, has been slowing down traffic into the capital city of Banjul since last Friday, 26 August 2016.
This is the second time that the military has mounted a check point at Kamalo, the first was set up immediately after the 30 December 2014 armed attack on state house.
Commuters are lamenting the intensification of the security checks on the Banjul-Serekunda highway which, according them, has now transformed this 15 minutes journey on this 8 kilometres stretch a nightmare lasting sometimes for more than an hour. The delay creates a long queue of vehicles which is said to be worse in the evenings. This has also brought about the scarcity of commercial vehicles to take passengers to Banjul, especially in the evening, as drivers refuse to go there because of the long queue.
Travellers to Banjul during this period always converge in large numbers on the highway in front of the former cooperative scrambling for transport to take them home or to work or for personal missions.
When a taxi driver, who was parked nearby, was approached by some people to take them to Banjul, his response was that it is not economical for him to go as he would be wasting both his fuel and time on the long queues.
“You waste a lot of fuel and time at Kamalo and Denton Bridge when you could have more trips and money by going elsewhere,” said the taxi driver.
A passenger who was on his way to the terminal to cross to the North Bank Region became so worried that she was going to miss the last ferry because there was no vehicle to take her to Banjul.
“I wanted to cross with the last ferry but I’m afraid that I’ll miss it and even if I’m going on board a taxi now, the delays on the road will not allow me to make it,” lamented the lady.
A resident of Banjul, who comes to work in Serekunda and closes in the evening, was also among the large crowd looking for a vehicle to go home. “Since they have started mounting a military checkpoint at Kamalo, I always stay here very late in the night before getting a vehicle to take me home,” he said.