three day sub-regional festival of cross border people recently ended in
The festival was organised by Enda Prospective Dialoques, in partnership with Afrique Enjeux, a non- governmental organization based in Senegal and the Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (TANGO) with funding from the Australian Development Agency.
The festival that brought together delegates from Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau, was attended by the chairman of Brikama Area Council, the prefet of Ngoreh in Guinea Bissao, and the Mayor of Kataba 1 Casamance, and members of the Southern Senegambia Sub-Region platform among other dignitaries.
Speaking at the festival, Latif Hamadi Jatta of Enda Diapol, spoke at length on the importance of the festival, saying it was part of the implementation of the project support for the promotion of cross-border multi-stakeholder approach to conflict prevention and sustainable peace-building in southern Senegambia.
He pointed out that it was the organization’s resolve to achieve the promotion of free movement of people and goods and the strengthening of cross border activities.
The president of Southern Senegambia sub- region platform, Dawda Boss Sonko, underscored the significance of the festival, saying it would enable them discuss the free movement of people and goods with key stakeholders.
He declared that the people of The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau are one people who have been divided by colonial masters.
He said his platform over the years has successfully contributed to the restoration of the forest along the border areas as well as fight cattle and small ruminant rustling.
Sonko raised concern on the issue of laisez passe, which, he said, should be abolished while stressing the need for people to respect the laws governing these three countries.
The chairman of Brikama Area Council, Bakary Saibo Sanneh, stressed the need for all stakeholders responsible for the implementation of the ECAWAS instruments and protocols signed by their respective states to respect those instruments and protocols.
According to him, the free movement of people and goods should be a reality and put into action. This, he added, would address the concerns of border communities.
The mayor of Kataba 1 in Casamance, Abdoulie Badjie commended ENDA Diapol and partners for the initiative, saying it would serve as a reminder to stakeholders.
The sub-regional event was marked by various cultural and sporting activities and a forum on culture as a means of pacification of cross border areas.