Tempers Flare at Laminkoto Crossing Point over Possible Demolition of Decade old Mosque

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This is the Mosque expected to be demolished by Kuntaur Area Council

By: Kebba Ansu Manneh

Scores of residents of the rural settlement of Laminkoto Village on the countryside’s north bank of the Central River Region (CRR) have expressed their concerns and fears of a possible demolition of their decade-old Mosque situated at the ferry crossing point.

The Mosque, according to the community, was built out of a self-aid initiative anchored on the need to have a praying ground at the Laminkoto-Janjanbureh Ferrycorssing point for a teeming number of worshippers crossing from the north bank to the south bank of the country needed the facility to perform prayers.

The community accused the local area council of Kuntaur with the Laminkoto Village Development Committee (VDC) of reportedly allocating the land housing the Mosque to the National Environmental Agency (NEA) for the implementation of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF 6) Project under the United Nations.

TAT spoke to scores of residents in the community who all rejected the idea of demolishing the Mosque, saying the decision would cause untold suffering to many Muslims who performed their daily prayers at the said place.

” The Kuntaur Area Council did not consult us before allocating the land for the GEF 6 Project that plans to use the facility to construct a restaurant and guest houses,” a village elder told TAT.

Lamin Comma, a concerned resident and native of Laminkoto, disclosed that demolishing the only Mosque at the riverside will hurt commuters and residents in performing their daily prayers.

“As someone who contributed to building this Mosque, I have never been contacted by either Kuntaur Area CoMosqueor or the National Environmental Agency on their plans to demolish this house of Allah. I just heard it from concerned natives who informed me that the authorities are ready to demolish the Mosque and replace it with a bar and restaurant,” Sorry, Jallow, another affected resident, told TAT.

Explaining how he conceived the idea of building the Mosque, Jallow said: ” Upon witnessing the struggle worshippers go through at the riverside, I decided to initiate the project; I financed the Mosque up to the length before I got D35,000 support from one Mosque of Basirou Jawara to complete the Mosque for worshippers. I did not have any power to stop them from demolishing the Mosque;  I built it for Allah’s sake, and if the Mosque is to be demolished, so be it.”

One official at the Kuntaur Area Council who prefers to remain anonymous informed Alkamba Times that consultations have been conducted with the local authorities at Laminkoto, who all endorsed using the space for the GEF 6 Project.

The Kuntaur Area Council official said a new Mosque is under construction for worshippers just a few meters away from the one earmarked for demolition.

According to him, the GEF 6 Project will build a restaurant and guest houses for the Kuntaur Area Council, which will create employment opportunities, improve the infrastructural outlook of the riverside, and boost the economic earnings of the Kuntaur Area Council.

However, many others who spoke with TAT also expressed their disappointment with the Kuntaur Area Council for not informing them that the business operators along the riverside would be affected.

They argue that many stall owners, including a woman restaurant owner and a UNDP-sponsored canteen, will also be affected by the GEF 6 Project without any compensation attached.

The residents also confirmed the construction of a new Mosque at the crossing point by the project, claiming that the site for the new Mosque is far from the riverside and not ideal for worshippers who had to trek long distances to perform their prayers as opposed to the old Mosque.

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