At least ten people sustained injuries and eleven others were arrested on Saturday following a caste fight between the so-called slaves and nobles in Upper River Region’s Kantora district village of village of Koina, The Gambia.
A source who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity describes the incident as ‘horrible,’ saying the government must act on the Koina caste issues to avoid bloodshed continuous bloodshed.
The Saturday incident, which is reported to have sparked a wave of panic in the region, saw a colossal destruction of properties in a violent protest by the two groups of angry natives of Koina. The arrested persons are: Bangal Gumaneh, Salifu Jaiteh, Saikou Gumaneh, Banta Gumaneh, Hagie Jabbi, Ousman Gumaneh, Bakary Gumaneh, Jafara Gumaneh, Balla Kanuteh, Bangal Kanuteh and Abdou Gumaneh. They are currently being detained at the Fatoto Police station as investigation into the matter continues.
Our source explained that the brawl broke out when one Muhammed Krubally tied a head scarf with the writing ‘Gambana’ on it; which means “we are all equals” in the Sarahulleh language.The source said Mr. Krubally went with the scarf to pray at the community Mosque and immediately when he entered the Mosque during the Ishar prayers, he was gripped and tied-up by the accused persons and taken to one Essa Gumaneh’s compound.
Our source further added that it was the security personnel in Fatoto that rescued Mr. Krubally. “When they arrived at Koina, stones were coming from both left and right. In fact, they had to call for reinforcement in order to put the situation under control. Krubally was rescued and rushed to Koina Health Centre for medical attention.”
Our reporter has been reliably informed that some of the accused persons were asking Mr. Krubally as to whether he would like to be called ‘slave’ while taking video of him, and others suggesting that he should be killed.
A compound belonging to one Muhammed Sanneh was reported to have been burnt to ashes by the arrested men while others had their fences broken down. The victims are Lasana Gumbel, Jambala Kanuteh, Essa Jarra, Essa Fofana, Hagie Fofana, Jombol Camara, Sembala Conteh, Salifu Touray, Bangal Touray, Abdou Gumaneh and Dembo Touray.
Dembo Touray, one of the victims of the incident is still hospitalised at the Koina Health Centre. A source familiar with the matter told The Point that Mr. Touray is reported to have lost two of his teeth in the fracas.
Our source stated that personnel of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) of Yerro Berri Kunda camp, Central River Region were deployed to Koina in order to maintain peace at the village. Detective officers in Basse with other security personnel are investigating the matter to get to the root of the incident.