May 31, 2016 By Alusine Sesay
Farmers in Kalangba village and its immediate environs have raised serious concern over the way and manner in which a herd of cattle belonging to the current District Medical Officer in Bombali are destroying their crops, especially newly planted and germinated groundnut.
They told Concord Times that owner of the cattle, Dr. Brima Osaio Kamara, is the current District Medical Officer (DMO) and son of late Paramount Chief Kandeh Osaio Kamara III of Gbendembu Ngowahun Chiefdom.
According to the aggrieved farmers, the late traditional ruler, though a wealthy farmer, did not raise cattle in Kalangba township, but instead reared them in the interior.
Kalangba used to be the chiefdom headquarters of Gbendembu Ngowahun chiefdom, but the said status was transferred to Gbendembu town, where the current paramount chief resides.
Residents of the township and its immediate environs are predominantly subsistent grain farmers and most of them have complained about how their crops were being destroyed by the herds of cattle.
“Our newly germinated groundnuts are being destroyed by the cattle. We have no other means of survival and we are least compensated for our crops,” said Morlia Kanu.
They are worried that they are now in the planting season and that their other crops, including rice, cassava, among a host of others may be destroyed by the cattle.
According to the farmers, the area could be hard hit by hunger should the cattle continue to destroy their crops.
They told Concord Times that they have reported the issue to the current Paramount Chief, Kandeh Kiha III and are awaiting his appropriate response.
However, this reporter tried to reach the paramount chief and Dr. Kamara, but to avail.
Meanwhile, the area had witnessed perennial conflict between herdsmen and grain farmers, with the latter most times imprisoned for taking the law into their own hands. In most cases, farmers have accused their chiefs and other community elders of working in cohort with herdsmen.
Paramount Chiefs on the other hand have argued that they do not have direct link with the herdsmen, who according to them agree with some land owners to allow them use their land to rear their cattle.
They added that the land owners in turn meet them for approval, since they are the custodians of the chiefdom.