By Louise Jobe
The West Coast Regional Group Tribunal on Thursday 31st October 2019, started proceedings on the land dispute between Talokoto and Busura in Kombo East and Kombo Central respectively at the Governor’s office in Brikama.
The Governor of WCR authorized the regional group tribunal to look into the matter; adding that the purpose of the sitting is to deal with the plots of land sold to individuals by Olimatou Colley, the Alkalo of Talokoto.
Chief Lamin Darboe who is the head of the tribunal, asked Malang Sanneh from Busura village to testify.
Malang Sanneh said he has lived in Busura since in the early fifties. He said the then Chief of Kombo Central Landing Barabally Bojang, gave the land to Alieu Badara Faye for settlement and farming. He told the tribunal that Alieu Badara Faye is the head Marabout and founder of Busura village with his followers (talibehs). He said the Marabout was the first person to approach the then Seyfo of Kombo Central to ask for this place for settlement with his talibehs. According to Sanneh, he was taken to a site situated between the two villages of Jalanbantang and Siwoni, when Busura was not established; that when Alieu Badara Faye settled in Busura village with nearly 100 talibehs, each of them were given land to settle; that he told his talibehs to clear the forest from Busura towards what is now the Madinaba/Seliti highway, for farming purposes. He asserted that the area that Olimatou encroached upon is their farm lands.
According to Sanneh, his father was one of the Marabout’s ‘talibehs’; adding that he and his parents have cultivated the said land for many years before Talokoto village came into existence. He further said that more than thirty five years to date when his parent died, he has continued to farm on the land before Olimatou Colley encroached onto it to sell it to people for settlement.
When the witness (Sanneh) was examined by members of the tribunal, he told the tribunal that he is not affected directly because she has not sold his land yet. He also told the tribunal that he has planted cashew trees on his land, but that despite this, the Alkalo of Talokoto has already encroached into their farmlands and almost sold over one hundred plots, some of which have solid buildings while others are empty plots.
On her part Olimatou Colley, the Alkalo of Talokoto denied encroaching into any farm lands, arguing that the land Sanneh claims belongs to Talokoto village and not Busura and that the elders of Busura gave them the land to settle as villagers of Talokoto including the farm lands.
Lamin Darboe, the Chief of Kombo South after listening to Malang Sanneh, said it was sad to note that two neighboring villages that share a lot of things in common including marriage, are involved in a land dispute that is just on the outskirt of each of the villages. He suggested for the members of the regional tribunal group to invite independent village elders from different villages if need be, to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of the two neighboring villages.
The members of the regional tribunal group are Momodou Bojang, Chief of Kombo North; Lamin Darboe, Chief of Kombo South; Modou Lamin Jobarteh, Chief of Sibanor and Lamin ‘Longs’ Jarju, Alkalo of Banjuluding in Kombo North.
Sitting was adjourned till Tuesday 5th November 2019.