Residents of No. 2 community, Western Area Rural District, were left in shock and fear as armed police officers, purportedly acting with the support and oversight of the incumbent government officials, carried out what many describe as illegal demolitions, rendering numerous families homeless.

The operation, which occurred on Monday, May 4th, 2024, targeted vast areas of land reportedly claimed by the Guma Valley Water Company.

Eyewitnesses reported that Operations Support Division (OSD) officers, armed and without prior notification, descended on the community to execute the demolitions, catching residents off guard. According to the affected occupants, no written notices or warnings were issued by any competent court of law prior to the demolition.

The Civil Society Consortium on Community Accountability and Service condemned the government’s actions, labeling them as illegal and unacceptable. Moses Mambu, the global coordinator of the consortium, warned of potential mass protests if the demolitions continue unabated. He emphasized the need for transparency and due process in any land acquisition efforts by the government.

William B.M. Soa-Lamin, Chairperson of the CSO Consortium on Community Accountability and Service Delivery, criticized the government’s approach, accusing it of bulldozing its way through without regard for legal processes or the rights of the affected residents. He stressed the importance of involving the community in decision-making processes regarding land issues.

Headman Joseph Jalloh expressed dismay over the lack of notification and transparency from the government regarding the ongoing demolitions. He highlighted the prevalence of corruption within the Ministry of Lands, exacerbating the plight of affected residents.

Sylvia Kanu, one of the victims, lamented the destruction of her property despite possessing legal documents from the Ministry of Lands. She criticized the government for its failure to provide adequate explanations or compensation for the losses incurred by residents.

The Guma Valley Water Company cited illegal land grabbing and the risk of disasters as justification for the demolitions. However, investigations revealed allegations of irregularities within the lands ministry, including the sale or leasing of property to long-standing occupants without proper authorization.

Mohamed Kamara, a foreign investor, claimed that despite purchasing land from the Ministry of Lands, his property was demolished without explanation. Questions arise as to why lands officials participated in the unlawful demolition alongside armed policemen.

The evictions in No. 2 community have sparked outrage and raised concerns about government accountability and respect for the rule of law. As tensions escalate, calls for transparency, dialogue, and fair treatment of affected residents grow louder