Parties reach compromise over fate of dead in land disputes
In the ongoing land dispute between the Taneneh community and Seedou Barrow, a resolution has today been reached according to Seedou who spoke to Gunjur News Online in a rare interview with the media.
A cross section of stakeholders today met to find a solution to the dispute over a supposed “graveyard” that the Manjago community claimed to be within the perimeter fence of land purchased by Seedou Barrow in 2003. Supreme Islamic Council, Christian Council, Ministry of lands, Taneneh community representatives and Seedou Barrow met today to find a solution to the dangerously precarious situation. The agreement meant the burial of the deceased takes place. Following the establishment of the fact that Seedou Barrow is the rightful owner of the disputed plot, the stakeholders appealed to Seedou to give back part of the plot to the Taneneh community for the purpose of a graveyard. Seedou has confirmed to this medium that he has agreed to forfeit 20m x 35m out of the 114m x 114m property. The members of the Taneneh community have earlier claimed that a bulldozer was used to destroy graves that go back to over 50 years that are scattered in the already fenced plot of land purchased and fenced by Seedou Barrow. Speaking to Gunjur News Online, Seedou Barrow rejected these claims as “false and without any merit”. Mr Barrow disclosed that he acquired the said plot measuring 114m x 114m in 2003 from Omar Jabang whose family are the customary owners of the area where the land is situated. “There was no single grave on the plot when I purchased it. The Taneneh community first buried their deceased in the plot in 2007, which I reported to both the local chief and the police. The police said their hands were tied as an order from the office of the president means they could not do anything.” Mr Barrow further disclosed that a second burial in his plot took place in 2016 and he again reported the matter to both the local chief and police to no avail. He indicated that in an attempt to gain access to his plot to bury their dead, the Taneneh community broke into the already fenced property and after the burial destroyed his plants by cutting down orange and papaya trees. All legal documentation and sketch plan of the plot shows Mr Barrow as the rightful owner of the plot. This, he revealed, was established by various investigative panels set up under the former regime and that the land remained his until in 2016 when fresh claims were made by the Taneneh community again with backing from some “key and powerful members of the then government of Yaya Jammeh”. He further informed this medium that he has spent years preparing the plot until eventually fencing it as part of his development plans for the land. He rejected claims that the land has been used as a graveyard for 50 years and that no bulldozer was used to level the ground. This medium has gathered from credible source familiar with the issue that the Tananeh community has broken into the already fenced plot to bury their dead on three occasions. The source further disclosed that the community were given an alternative plot elsewhere in Tananeh to be used as their graveyard, which they refused to use indicating the new allocated place to be used as cemetery contains “ghosts” Efforts were made to contact Samuel Gomez of Tananeh community before going to press without success.