Minister explains Dankunku gun seizure
Friday, June 22, 2012
minister of Forestry and Environment, Fatou Ndey Gaye, Thursday explained the
reasons for the seizure of nine guns from the people of Niamina Dankuku in the
Central River Region (CRR) by the Department of Parks and Wildlife officials.
Gaye was responding to a question posed to her during the question and answer
session in the second meeting of the 2012 Legislative Year, by Hon. Samba
Jallow, Minority leader and National Assembly member for Niamina Dankunku.
had asked the minister to give reasons for the seizure of the said nine guns by
the Department of Parks and Wildlife officials in Dankunku. Hefurther sought answers from Minister
Gaye as to when the said guns will be returned to their owners.
Forestry minister who was represented by Fatou Lamin Faye, minister of Basic
and Secondary Education, in response, said the officers involved in carrying
out the operation and confiscation exercise on 9th April , 2011 were bonafide
staff of the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management. She
disclosed that the officers were instructed and given directives by her
Ministry and the Department of Parks and Wildlife to conduct the investigations
and to report back to the Ministry, which was done.
According to her, the authorised staff of Department of Parks and Wildlife Management are mandated by the Biodiversity and Wildlife Act 2003. She said that the culprits were involved in illicit hunting without hunting permits, and were in possession of wildlife artifacts such as hides and skin of antelopes, horns, beaks and feathers of threatened birds. She told the deputies that the security implications are that, all the guns found with the culprits were not registered with the police and have no authentic licence.
disclosed that the confiscation of the guns followed complaints made by some
members of the Dankunku Community, about the risk to their lives in the rice
fields and farmlands, and this was communicated through the former Forestry
Minister, her predecessor and the former permanent secretary at MoFEN. She said
they were also informed that there were illegal and illicit killings of all
sorts of wildlife in the Dakunku area including endangered protected wildlife
Ministry instructed the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management to urgently
intervene and during the investigations, it was discovered that there were
ongoing indiscriminate killings of all sorts of wild animals which include
national, regional and globally threatened and endangered animal species such
as the Rate Sitatunga antelope, the West African Crowned Cranes, among other
The animals are being illegally killed for commercial purposes. Wild animal artifacts such as antelope horns, hides and skins, bird beaks, etc, were found with the culprits in their residential homes on display and others were being sold at local markets called Lumos,” she added.
Gaye said that some of the culprits created illegal camps in the bush and were
even felling trees illegally, adding that woods recovered from the forest were
handed over to the District Chief of Dankunku to hand over to the forest officer
for further action, as he was not around when the wildlife operation was being
the district chief of Dankunku is fully aware of the development, since the
culprits were taken before him after the operation. She added that he can be
contactedfor more clarification.
She also told theAssembly that the regional governor and Police commissioner were also informed about the operation, and all the items confiscated were aired on GRTS for the whole nation to see, before being kept at the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management’s Headquarters (DPWM H/Q). She added that the culprits were told to report to the DPWM H/Q, but to no avail.
“I would like to inform this august Assembly that as soon as the current investigations are completed, the case will be heard by the appropriate court that would decide the fate of the confiscated guns and artifacts,” she concluded.
In another engagement, Lamin Waa Juwara, minister of Regional Administration, Lands and Traditional Rulers, was asked by Hon. Baboucarr Nyang of Banjul South to explain why work is still not in progress at the Social Security Housing Project at Tanji, Brufut, Salagie.
In response, Minister Juwara explained that land premium payment forms part of the leasing of any parcel of land in The Gambia. “Such a payment is made directly to Consolidated Revenue Fund for use in the provision of requisite infrastructure and other facilities for the nation by government,” he added.
According to him, the Tanji Bridge, the Kombo Coastal roads and the ongoing provision of water and electricity in various parts of the country including Tanji and Salagi are clear examples. Therefore, he said, the programme is still ongoing and is not abandoned.
Author: Aji Fatou Faal & Alieu Ceesay