Gambia– Six people were convicted and fined by the Foni Kansala District tribunal on Tuesday, after they were found guilty on three-count charge of bush fire, illegal cutting of trees and charcoal production.
Chief Biran Camara fined Alagie Njie, Adama Camara, Nuha Bojang, Sainabou Jallow, Sarjo Jallow and Sunkaru Jatta to several fines at his Dobong tribunal, ranging from D2000 to D5000 in default to serve jail terms from two to six months.
Handing down his verdict, Chief Camara reminded the convicts that the Forestry Act sanctioned people to protect the forest instead of illegally bringing it down.
He said the fires had destroyed cashew farms and women gardens which, he said is disgusting, since those people solely depend on their farms and gardens for livelihood. I learnt that the perpetrators of the terrible bush fire in Sanghajorr area toward Kanilai are students. If not, I would have taken a decision on them by sending them to jail before the tribunal decide on their faith, Chief Camara said.
He said he will temper justice with mercy on them since they are students and one of them is sitting to grade twelve examinations.
The presiding chief then sent a strong warning to the people of his district that government has criminalised the cutting down of trees, further reminding the Alkalolus that failure to obey the laws, both them and the perpetrators will face the wrath of the law. He said the same punishment is placed on bush fire, charcoal production and cattle rustling. Let me emphasise that there is no negotiation for offenders of these acts, he said.