The Sherrif Division of the Banjul High Court Friday rescinded and withdrew the notice it issued to one Baba Mendy and other residents of Kunkujang Mariama asking them to vacate their farmlands.  

The Sheriff of The Gambia in a letter addressed to Mr Baba Mendy of Kunkujang Mariama wrote: “The matter of your complaint is well noted and is being investigated. In the meantime, the letter titled ‘Notice to Vacate’ is rescinded and withdrawn, and consequently you are advised to ignore same.”

Issuance of Notice

The issuance of the notice by the office of the Sheriff comes on the heels of a purported judgment delivered by the Kombo South District Tribunal in favour of Nambarakunda clan of Sanyang against some residents of Kunkujang Mariama. However, the people said to be the defendants in the matter and Chief Lamin Darboe of Kombo South District Tribunal said they were not aware of the case.

Samuel Sang Mendy Gives His Version

Samuel Sang Mendy, one of the purported defendants told Foroyaa: “We have never been served with any summons to appear before the Kombo South District Tribunal in 2016. The purported case the people of Nambarakunda are talking about does not exist. We (the Mendy Kunda and the Nambarakunda clan) were before the Brikama Magistrate’s Court, and the Court ruled in our favour. We have the judgment delivered by the Brikama Magistrate’s Court.”

Recollecting how the recent standoff between them and the inhabitants of Nambarakunda started, Mr Mendy said sometime this year, one Musa Jarjue trespassed into his land.

He remarked, “Jarjue said the plot of land is given to him by the Sanyang Nambarakunda people.”

He said when this happened, he lodged a complaint at Tujereng Police Station against Musa Jarjue.

He added that while the police in Sanyang and Tujereng were investigating the matter, he received a notice from the Sheriff Division asking them to vacate from their different cashew farms.

“While we were waiting for the police to come up with their report on this matter, we received a notice from the Office of the Sheriff asking us to vacate from our lands. We went to the Police and they told us that they received a letter from the Sheriff Division, and so their investigation into the matter has ceased,” Mendy added.

The Police, he said, advised them to go to the Chief of Kombo South which they did. According to him, the Chief told them that he never presided over a case between them and Nambarakunda, adding the Chief advised them to go to the Sheriff Division in Banjul.

Mendy pointed that at the Sherrif Division in Banjul, the staff searched everywhere but did not see the purported judgment from the Kombo South District Tribunal.

He said one Seedy Fatty at the Sheriff Division advised them to go to Brikama High Court which they did.

He remarked: “We went to Brikama High Court where we met one Landing Badjie, a staff of the Court. They searched everywhere but could not see the said judgment from the Kombo South District Tribunal.”

Badjie, he noted, proposed to them to meet him at the High Court in Banjul the following day.

He said: “The following day we met Landing Badjie at the High Court in Banjul. They searched everywhere, but did not see the said judgment from the Kombo South District Tribunal.”

He concluded that it was not the people of Sanyang who hosted their grandparents, but the people of Tujereng who hosted and gave the land to them.

Anne Marie Gomez

Anne Marie Gomez, also from Kunkujang said, “I was not aware of anyone suing me at the Kombo South District Tribunal in 2016 or before that. This judgment does not exist.”

Chief Lamin Darboe

Distancing himself from the said judgment, Chief Lamin Darboe said he was not the Chief in 2016, and as such was not aware of the said judgment.

Lamin Bojang of Nambarakunda

Lamin Bojang, a representative of the Nambarakunda clan of Sanyang said the disputed land is situated in Sanyang and not Kunkujang Mariama. He added that they were in court with the defendants namely Baba Mendy, Sang Mendy, Marie Mendy and others, all residents of Kunkujang. He went on to say that the Kombo South District Tribunal delivered judgment in the case on January 19, 2018.

Lamin Bojang said: “I am surprised to learn that the chief of Kombo South said he is not aware of the judgment. The present Chief, Lamin Darboe, delivered the judgment in this case,” adding that “Baba Mendy attended the proceedings three times and stopped coming to court.” 

He stressed: “The school and shrine at Kunkujang Mariama are not affected by the judgment. They are also not affected by the eviction notice. No construction is taking place at the Shrine. No compound in Kunkujang is affected by the eviction notice. Kunkujang Mariama is not our land. People go to Kunkujang Mariama on annual basis for pilgrimage. When the story was put on the media, it generated a lot of comments. We have respect for holy sites. This is why we found it befitting to come and clarify the facts. We have nothing to do with the Shrine or compounds in Kunkujang Mariama,” 

Judgment on Criminal Case in 2015

The current land dispute resurfaced four years after the Brikama Magistrate’s Court presided over by S.K Jobarteh convicted and sentenced Sherrif Bojang, Soto Bojang, Musa Jarjue, Dembo Bojang and Alasana Sanneh for trespassing into the land of Baba Mendy in Kunkujang on or about the year 2009 and 2010 with intent to intimidate, insult or annoy him.

In delivering judgment in this criminal matter in 2015, Magistrate Jobarteh said it was not in dispute that the Mendy Kunda family had warned the accused persons to leave the land, but to no avail and they had to report the matter at the Tujereng Police Station.

 The magistrate remarked, “I have listened to the plea of mitigation of the convicts, I have noted that the convicts are first time offenders. I have also noted that the convicts are all of advanced ages and family men taking care of their families. I have looked at the demeanour of the convicts and I see them to be remorseful. I am satisfied that the convicts will be changed persons if another chance is given to them.

In the light of the above and also taking into consideration the relationship between both communities, I shall invoke my discretion under the Criminal Code and order the convicts to enter a recognizance in the sum of D10,000 each, with a Gambian surety each in like sum, conditioned that they shall keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a term of 2 years failure of which they shall be called upon by the Court and serve the stipulated sentence.

Editor’s Note

We wish to bring to the attention of the readers that it is not the Nambarakunda family who are alleged to have encroached into the Catholic Shrine in Kunkujang Mariama.

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