By Madiba Singhteh
The only Bambo strip of forest situated behind the Nawec substation at Jamburr village in the West Coast Region of the Gambia, has been bulldozed to the ground by one Modou Jammeh, who claims ownership of the said Land. The whole strip of bamboo forest was bulldozed on Tuesday April 30th 2019 by Modou Jammeh, who according to sources, was categorically told to desist from clearing the only bamboo forest within the region or even the whole country, by the Department of Forestry, but decided to do the contrary, and worse of all with a bulldozer.
According to Kebba Jammeh who is also the Head of the Technical Unit of the Forestry Department’s sub-station in Brikama Nyambai, a letter was written to Modou Jammeh to desist from doing any activity on this fifty year old bamboo forest, which has been Gazetted; that Modou Jammeh’s actions are without any basis or authority and is an infringement on the Forest Act.
According to Modou Jammeh, he received a letter from the Department of Physical Planning to go ahead with his bulldozing activity of razing the bamboo forest to the ground. However, when this reporter investigated further, it was discovered that the said letter was for Modou Jammeh to actually halt all operations regarding the clearing of the said area.
Kebba Jammeh said they will continue to prevail on people to desist from encroaching on any part of the country’s forest parks, because it is against the Law; that people doing such illegal activities are doing so at their own risks.
When contacted to shed light on the issue, both the Permanent Secretary and Director at the Department of Forestry confirmed their presence on the ground, to assess the damage, and to talk to Modou Jammeh.
Both reiterated the Forestry Department’s warning for people to desist from illegal encroachment and occupation on the forest parks especially at Kabifita; that Forest parks cannot be reclaimed as settlements, according to the Forest Act.