Fears grow over Gambia-Senegal border tensions

Sep 22, 2020, 12:08 PM

A local news outlet – Emedia in Senegal has described it “quite worrying” the confrontations at the Gambia-Senegal border in recent times.

This last incident took place last weekend at the border between the two countries on the southern side of The Gambia when a small village on the Atlantic coast in Cassamance became almost the scene of clashes between Gambian soldiers and elements of environmental protection in Senegal.

The incidents, a narrowly avoided tragedy according to our source, have become recurrent and reveal latent tensions as a lack of demarcation of the border between the two countries.

“It was very close to the worst incident. It all started with an arrest of Gambian fishermen by elements of the Senegalese Maritime Area.  These fishermen entered the Senegalese maritime waters illegally.  Heavily armed Gambian soldiers arriving on patrol intervened, ordering Senegalese agents to release the arrested fishermen and follow them to Kartong police station in Gambian territory.  Alerted, many inhabitants of the Senegalese village mobilised to help their compatriots.  Fearing overflows, Gambian soldiers fired into the air to disperse the crowd.”

 Demarcation fault

It’s becoming more and more recurring incidents that worry residents on both sides of the border. In December 2019, an altercation between Senegalese army soldiers and those from the Gambia in the village of Touba Tranquille was reported.  Access was refused to Senegalese soldiers by elements of the Gambian army on the pretext that the village is located on their territory. 

In May, Senegalese soldiers who entered a Gambian village by mistake had been chased away by Gambians who have since continued to denounce a constant violation of the integrity of the territory of their country.

During the last presidential council between the two countries held in Dakar last March, the two parties agreed to resume the demarcation of the border between the two countries.  As a first official reaction, Gambian Defence Minister Sheikh Omar Faye, visiting Kaolack at the start of the week, confirmed the information before tempering and calling for calm, rehashing at will the special relations between the two countries.

Source: Emedia

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