Members of the militarized wing of the police, Paramilitary, have arrested four natives of Gunjur as law enforcers cracked down on planned protesters.
The young people led by one Sulayman Bojang, a youth activist in Gunjur, is being detained at the Gunjur police station alongside 3 others.
The police operations was led by the West Coast regional commissioner, Kerr Fatou has learned.
Bojang told Kerr Fatou few minutes before his arrest and detention that they have cancelled the demonstration because of the arrest of some of their members.
“We want to know why our people were arrested because we have not even start a protest,” Bojang said as he walked into the Gunjur station.
The protesters were identified with the help of Gunjur natives and arrested before the protest, one of the activists has said.
Three of the detainees, Buba Touray, Dembo Camara and Mbaye Nyang, were arrested at the seashore. They all denied doing any protest.
However, the police said Bojang has told them on Saturday that they will go ahead with their protest whether they are given a permit or not.
Meanwhile, over a dozen paramilitary officers in crowd-control gears have guarded the Chinese complex, at least one of them carrying an AK47 riffle.
As the police escorted the three detainees to a truck parked near the Golden Lead, one paramilitary officer carrying AK47 riffle yelled, referring to the onlookers, “back off”, “move” if you have not come here for work
About two months ago, natives of Gunjur and activist have forcibly uprooted the pipes of the Chinese company.
Activists said the company is discharging toxic waste into the sea but the company denied any wrongdoing.
“If we are discharging toxic waste, why did NEA gave us a license?… We have our water tested at the Water Resources and in Dakar and it is fine,” the manager of the company we could only identify as Jojo told Kerr Fatou.
“We have the license for 2018 and the license to discharge the waste… We have had a waste treatment plant since last year… You can call the NEA because everything we do follow their guidelines…”
Kerr Fatou could not reach the NEA’s media office Alkinky Sanyang for comment. However, the NEA did charge the company last year for discharging toxic waste into the sea and pollution but the charges were later withdrawn from the court.
An out of court settlement was reached and NEA said the company was to set up a waste treatment plant and pay an unspecified amount of money for the damage done to the environment.
Currently, Gunjur has initiated a lawsuit against the company at the High court seeking millions in damages but the case has had one day in court.
By Mustapha K Darboe