Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Police Occupy Land in Kerr Mot Hali

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By Yankuba Jallow

Members of the Gambia Police Force (GPF) detachment in Kerr Mot Hali village have now occupied a piece of land belonging to the former Alkalo’s mother.

This happened in the wake of a subsisting High Court order that the indigenes of Kerr Mot Hali currently in exile in Senegal are Gambians and have a right to come back to The Gambia and occupy their land. The court also declared that these indigenes and each of them at all material times, are the owners and are entitled to possession of their properties situated at Kerr Mot Hali and that it is their right to take their properties at the village that were taken from them compulsorily.

The High Court judgment by Justice Aminata Saho-Ceesay has restrained the Police and the Attorney-General from preventing the people of Kerr Mot Hali from taking possession and occupying their respective properties in the village. It has further restrained them from dealing with, entering or remaining, or alienating or otherwise interfering with the properties situated at Kerr Mot Hali.

Importantly, the people of Kerr Mot Hali are denied access to their farmlands even though the High Court declared them the owners of the farmlands.

“I wanted to farm on my farmland this year but the Njaw Police has warned me not to go anywhere close to my farmland,” Modou Lamin Hassan told Foroyaa in an exclusive interview.

Photo: Modou Lamin Hassan

Photo: Modou Lamin Hassan

He explained that he has faced a series of harassment by personnel of the Police Intervention Unit detachment currently occupying their land though the court has ordered that they shouldn’t interfere on their land.

They told this reporter that they are farmers and depend on farming for their livelihood.

Yunusa O.S. Ceesay told Foroyaa that all the people of Kerr Mot Hali are farmers.

“All of them are farmers but for 10 years, they couldn’t access their farmlands. Right now, they do not farm because they don’t have access to land,” he said.

He called on the Government to respect their rights as citizens of The Gambia and to enforce the decision of the High Court. Ceesay intimated that they wouldn’t relent on fighting for their rights.

“We went to court and we were given our rights. Now our rights have been restored by the court, why can’t the government enforce it if indeed the democracy it is claiming is true,” he said.

The judgment is yet to be enforced because the Attorney General is delaying the process of the enforcement of the court order.

Kerr Mot Hali is in Upper Saloum District of the Central River Region, a village believed to be founded in the year 1777 by one marabout named Mot Hali.

In the judgment, the Court declared that these people are entitled to assemble and gather in order to practise their religion and to manifest such practice in their religion. It has restrained the authorities from preventing the indigenes of Kerr Mot Hali from practising their religion in the village. It has also declared that the indigenes of Kerr Mot Hali are not to be discriminated by the authorities on account of their religion, culture and tradition and particularly in the practice of their religion and the manifestation of such practice in the village.

When contacted to comment on the occupation of Kerr Mot Hali by the police, the police spokesperson told Foroyaa that he will find out from his authorities and get back to us. Foroyaa would continue to engage him to hear from the police in regard to the involvement of the police in this incident.

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