Faraba Banta wounded victims are being denied treatment in some health facilities in The Gambia, Binta Jatta, a native of Faraba told Freedom Newspaper in an interview. Jatta, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, said some of the health professionals approached by family members to help attend to the Faraba victims, have went as far as branding the Faraba patients as “President Adama Barrow’s patients”; hence making it difficult for the wounded victims to get treatment at this hour in The Gambia. This follows, the gunning down of three Faraba Banta residents by personnel of Gambia’s police intervention unit (PIU) amid a land dispute case between the residents of Faraba and the Julakay Engineering Company. Three environmentalists were killed, and dozens of others critically injured.
Julakay Engineering is owned by Ansumana Marena, a native of Kudang, in the Central River Region. Mr. Marena was among the witnesses, who appeared before the Faraba Commission, headed by human rights lawyer Emmanuel Joof. The Commission submitted its report to President Barrow about a month ago. Though, the President is yet to release the Commission’s findings to the public.
According to Binta Jatta, President Barrow visited the wounded victims at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital shortly after they were hospitalized. The President made a promised during his visit to the hospital that he was going to take care of the treatment cost of the victims. But Jatta said the patients are medically stranded, as families couldn’t afford to pay for their medical expenses.
To insult to injury, she said, families are frustrated by doctors refusal to see the wounded Faraba victims. She said some of the medical facilities they approached for treatment have made it unequivocally clear that they will not treat patients, who were injured during the Faraba incident. Families members were told that Barrow’s government, should care for the wounded victims, she said.
Binta Jatta has launched an appeal through Freedom Radio Gambia, for President Barrow to come to the rescue of some of the injured Faraba victims. She said Faraba families relied largely on farming to take care of their homes, and that their rice fields have been destroyed by the illegal sand mining spearheaded by the Julakay Engineering Company.
Julakay has since suspended mining at the site. The company claimed that it was granted license by The Gambian state to mine sand in Faraba. But the village’s Development Committee (VDC) said it was never consulted about the said mining license that was purportedly issued to Ansumana Marena.
Meanwhile, the people of Faraba Banta, have launched a Gofundme page to help sponsor the medical expenses of the wounded victims. Binta Jatta said every penny donated will help the wounded victims.
Mrs. Jatta has called on President Barrow to help release the Faraba Commission report in the interest of accountability and transparency. She said families deserve justice.
She also lamented about the light treatment detention meted out to the accused PIU officers linked to the killing of the three Faraba residents. She said she was told that the officers accused of killing the three Faraba environmentalists, were not detained in remand prison, but at one of their bases.