Monday, November 23, 2015

GAMBIA: Kartong youth arrested for protesting against environmental degradation

Heavy metal mining at Kartong, The Gambia
The environmental impact resulting from both heavy metal and sand mining activities in the village of Kartong located several miles from The Gambian capital of Banjul has caused the village dwellers to protest against the mining operators.

The mining activities have obviously taken its toll on the environment and on the daily livelihoods of the villagers.

The authorities have been rounding up the protesting youth since yesterday morning, now estimated to be numbering twenty.

According to an unidentified officer interviewed on FatuRadio, several youths who have been arrested are in custody at the Burusubi Police Station.  The officer was unable to confirm the number under arrest or say why the youths are under arrest.

As we write this blog, 46 young men, including a young woman named Yaya Jarju, are currently in police custody.

According to the youth who was providing information to us, "Councillor Lamin Jamba Jammeh is the cause of all the problems we are encountering in Kartong."  Admitting that sand mining exposes the entire village to environmental, Councillor Jammeh conceded that he's helpless to effect change in the law.

During the interview with FatuRadio, it was revealed that Mr. Jammeh is not only the Councillor, he is also appointed manager of the sand mining site by KGI, the operator of the site. When Mr. Jammeh was asked whether holding these two positions did not represent a conflict of interest, he immediately hung up the telephone.  KGI is owned by the Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh.  It is suspected that the entire operation is privately owned and operated by Yaya Jammeh and thus all proceeds go to his private bank account.