June 22, 2015 By Ibrahim Jaffa Condeh from Bonthe
Bonthe Island and its environs can only boast of 6 police officers to maintain law and order and provide any semblance of peace and quiet for a little over 10,000 islanders, according to Mayor Layemin Joe Sandy.
Mayor Sandy, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with this reporter, said Bonthe municipality has just one Officer-in-Charge (OC), an administrative officer (a Sergeant), one maritime police and three general duty officers.
“Bonthe riverine areas is currently an alarming place with the highest crime rate that ranges from murder, attempted murder for ritual purposes, to name but a few,” he said, adding that police personnel on the island are overwhelmed by the size of the task of policing over 10,000 inhabitants.
He attributed high crime rate in Delken, M’bokie, Saama, Matacan, Dema and York Island to the fact that only few police officers are deployed in the once bustling colonial commercial town.
He revealed that no female police officer is deployed in the township, which means that male police officers have had to handle cases of sexual abuse and related gender-based violence and to body search female suspects for suspected items or offensive weapons before they are locked in police cells.
Team leader and Crime Officer, Mohamed F. Moigoi, said the lean presence of the police on the island and surrounding villages poses great difficulty for he and his men to be efficient.
He said the island was in urgent need of more police officers to tackle crime, especially sexual violence against women and girls.
But as if the current situation is not worse enough, the Mayor revealed there are plans to relocate the Bonthe Municipality Police Division, which covers Gbap, Nongo-Babulum, Sittia Chiefdom, Bendu-Cha and Bonthe Municipality Council, to the mainland in Mattru Jong.