Commissioner Lamin Banda in charge of police operations in Lower River Region (LRR) has been publicly berated by President Barrow over a communal land dispute. The commissioner was also yanked out of the jurisdiction on the orders of his commander-in-chief, who was reportedly enraged by his handling of dispute involving lands in Niorro Jataba.
Eyewitnesses in the presidential entourage informed LTN that the incident erupted last weekend during a stop in Niorro Jataba, while the president was travelling to the provinces to inaugurate some newly completed projects, including the new NPP bureau in the Upper River Region. Some NPP supporters in the village (Niorro Jataba) complained to the president about the disputed lands in their community and accused the embattled regional police chief of interference. “While the president was coming from Kombos going to Mankamang Kunda, his convoy had a stop at Niorro Jataba where a waiting crowd on the highway welcomed him. The villagers approached the president and explained the matter to him. The president took note of their complaint and continued his journey,” one of the sources who asked to remain anonymous disclosed.
Another source revealed that on his return leg from Mankamang Kunda on Sunday (May 7), the president and his convoy had a brief stop at Jarra Soma, where he greeted the district chief, local authorities, and regional security chiefs who welcomed him on the highway.
“It was during this welcome party that President Barrow spotted Commissioner Lamin Banda among service chiefs who had queued to shake his hand as customary. He told the commissioner ‘what are you doing here?‘ He then told the security that he doesn’t want to see him there. He accused Commissioner Banda of being a UDP supporter,“ said another source.
LTN also learned that Commissioner Banda attempted to defend himself but the president did not buy his account of events.
The source added that the president complained to the Interior Minister Seyaka Sonko about Commissioner Banda’s conduct. Minister Sonko reportedly acted on Commissioner Banda’s immediate transfer on the same day (Sunday). “The security called the IGP in Banjul and effected Banda’s transfer and immediate replacement,” sources confirmed.
Banda’s replacement, Deputy Commissioner Ken Mendy was ordered to report to the Regional Administrative headquarters in Mansakonko that same day. “The Deputy Commissioner arrived at 9:00 pm for a formal handing over of command duties.” By 9:30 pm, the source continued, Commissioner Banda left Jarra Soma on the orders to report to the Gambia Police Headquarters in Banjul for a new designation.
Meanwhile, President Barrow has since yesterday (May 13) returned to the region where he laid the foundation stone of the 102 kilometers Kabada road network project at a ceremony held at Medina Angaleh in Kiang Central District.