The Banjul Christian Cemetery A Target

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By A concerned Gambian Christian

Recently The Gambia Christian Council received a letter from the Office of the President ordering Christians to seize burying their dead at the Banjul Christian Cemetery.

The Order was not adhered to and a second letter, was delivered on 16th August 2016, this time from the Permanent Secretary-Local Government, reiterated the order and indicated that it was a  directive from the Office of the President.

These events led to the call for an inspection of the Christian cemetery. The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government arranged for the inspection and included Muslim leaders in the inspection team. The inclusion of Muslim elders for an inspection of a Christian Cemetery was objected to by representative of the Christian Community. The objection was accepted and the Muslim elders were excluded from the inspection team. The inspection was then conducted on Saturday 20th August 2016.

A large number of Christian faithful gathered at the cemetery to witness the inspection. The team of inspectors included the Anglican Bishop, the Catholic Vicar General and representative of the Ministry of Local Government. Together they conducted a thorough inspection of the Banjul Christian cemetery and concluded that there were open areas still available for burial; the assumption was that the cemetery was to be closed because it was full and couldn’t allow for continued burial.

In the light of their findings the representative for the Local Government indicated that he would make a report of his findings and a copy would be sent to the Christian community. 

Personal Views and Comments

  1. The closing order of a cemetery should have been ordered by the Ministry of Health (for public health reasons) or the Mayor, City of Banjul.
  2. The Banjul Christian cemetery is located at a conspicuous location, at the gate to the city of Banjul and opposite to the National Assemble.
  3. The cemetery is amongst the best kept cemeteries in The Gambia and has a Cross in the center.
  4. The location of the cemetery on entering the city would be viewed as undesirable, now that this is declared to be an Islamic State.
  5. The Gambia Christian community should take greater care and protection of their properties and not only cemeteries. Ensure that they are all in good physical and sanitary state; ensure that they are sufficiently registered.
  6. They should be adequately fenced, install conspicuous labels and sign posts, and lockable gates and keepers/guards. This would prevent access to stray animals, illegal play activities and dumping of refuse.

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