Tense calm: Dozens paramilitary forces guard the property of Julakay Group in Faraba as villagers contemplate court injunction against sand mining group.
The community said the Julakay Group and the Government have told them that they were on prospecting while a license was already issued to mine.
There was a heavy paramilitary presence at the work site of the company on Wednesday as the community seeks alternative ways to solve the impending crisis.
The villagers, who are encountering such impending environmental crisis for the first time, said the intended mining site is only a stone throw from their rice fields and gardens.
“The mining didn’t start… They are only constructing the roads leading to the site,” Alagie Sanyang, the village development chairman, told Kerr Fatou.
Similar issue confronting the natives of Faraba has affected several coastal fishing villages including Kartong.
In 2015, over a dozen people in Kartong were arrested for protesting against mining in the outskirt of their village as a place near their women gardens.
The villagers were later released without charge but the mining in the area was stopped.
The natives of Faraba are going to meet a lawyer on Wednesday to seek a court injunction to stop the mining, sources in the village informed Kerr Fatou.
The Alkalo of the village who reportedly consented on their behalf, Nuha Kujabi, stays at Brikama but he visits the village once every week.
Seven of the people involved were on Tuesday charged with incitement of violence but there are yet to make a court appearance.
Meanwhile, the police IGP Landing Kinteh told the community members in a meeting on Tuesday that the mining company has acquired a valid license over 8.1 hectare land field.
However, Alagie Sanyang told Kerr Fatou that the document they have seen when the mining group was seeking license was 3.4 hectares. The digging was supposed to be at least 4 meters deep, villagers said.
He also said Faraba’s consent was never sought during the process of issuing the license nor were they aware of any environmental assessment done.
According to the Gambian law, there must have been an environment assessment report of the mining before it starts.
Both line institutions of the Gambia government, Geology department and National Environmental Agency, could not be reached for comment.
The officials at the Geology Department said the authorities of the institution who could talk to the press were all occupied.