The famous informal market called blackmarket located upstairs of the main Serekunda Market, has been closed by personnel of the combined security forces deployed to seal the place from illegal business transactions.
This development was confirmed to the Daily Observer by Sergeant Yerro Bah, head of the security forces deployed to guard the place from informal businesses, especially those believed to be engaged in buying and selling of stolen items and other illegally obtained goods.
The head of the security said he and his team were deployed to protect the place from illegal business dealers well before the start of the Holy Month of Ramadan. He affirmed that it is their will to make sure the place is devoid of idle minded people, especially those not having shops or recognised businesses there.
“We don’t entertain anyone coming and standing here doing nothing. We chase anyone found idling around. The place is supposed to be a decent business centre, hence those not having shops and business centres are not allowed to stay here. Anyone coming in has to have a business to do and then go, as opposed to engaging in illegal transactions,” Sgt. Bah emphasised.
He and his team were seen driving away group of youths who seemed to be just idling around.
It could be recalled that Magistrate Momodou Bojang of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court earlier made an order for the closure of the said blackmarket while hearing evidence in one of the criminal cases brought before his court.
The magistrate’s call followed hearing of evidence in the ongoing trial involving eight men charged with common nuisance and unlicensed selling, all contrary to the Laws of The Gambia.
The eight accused persons are: Gibbi Njie, Alieu Barry, Kebba Manneh, Malick Ndaw, Pap Saine, Basirou Secka, Ousman Bah and Baba Mbaye. They all denied the charges.
The presiding magistrate was heard saying that the task force should join with other security units to clear up the Serrekunda black market, “infested with a gang of criminals” engaged in selling and buying of stolen items.
According to him, every lost item in the country is found in the said Serrekunda black market, calling it a place for lost items. He said the court has presided over many such cases and many convicts of such cases are currently serving various prison terms.
“It is rather unfortunate that people often buy stolen goods from the black market and whenever they are caught with it, the seller will never be seen,” the presiding magistrate told the court.
However, at the closure of the prosecution’s case, the second accused Alieu Barry opted not to open his defence and preferred to remain silent, which gave chance to the third accused Kebba Manneh to give his evidence.
He said he is a plumber and a businessman and recalled on the 18th February 2016, while on his way to the said black market, a member of the task force advised him not to enter the said market because police were there arresting his colleagues.
He added that he then diverted and decided to have a day’s rest in Bundung, but he was later confronted by the task force and taken to the Serrekunda Police Station, where he was placed in cell and a statement was recorded from him.
by Sanna Jawara