Farato rioters make first appearance facing 11 charges

Farato rioters make first appearance facing 11 charges

At least 10 people, who were arrested in May for rioting are now facing 11 charges and have made their first appearance at the High Court in the capital, Banjul.

They were part of protesters that were held for by Gambian authorities over a land dispute in Farato and destroying several properties.

They have been released on bail in June but in their appearance on Monday, prosecutors unveiled new charges against them. They were initially charged with unlawful assembly and rioting.

New charges now include incitement to violence, destruction of properties, causing malicious injuries, assault on police officers, conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Protesters allegedly attack police officers on duty in the village just outside Brikama. Some of the officers sustained injuries before the riot police intervened.

A local real estate company, Manor Properties had their agents attacked, and at least two of their vehicles and a Caterpillar wheel dozer set on fire.

The land between Bafuloto and Farato has been the subject of a land dispute that was resolved by the high court but residents say they have lived in their homes for more than 15 years, some of which are valued at over a million dalasis [$25,000].

The disputed settlement has almost 2,000 homes but authorities say not all of them are affected by the order to have them destroyed, which sparked the riot.

Family members of those losing their homes took to the streets to protest in what turned out to be an attack on business and properties in Farato, whose residents say the disputed land is an inheritance from their grannies.

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