Lactating woman narrates ordeals as bullets land in her compound

Apr 8, 2022, 12:04 PM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

Adama Bojang is among thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled their homes for safety after Senegalese soldiers launched a “special operations against the Movement for Democratic Forces of Cassamance (MFDC) last month.

Fear gripped thousands of villagers along the Gambia-Senegal border upon hearing sounds of heavy gunshots coupled with uncertainty as Senegalese forces launched the attack on the rebels on a Sunday afternoon of 13 March, 2022.

Speaking to Reporter Sankulleh Gibril Janko at Mbatutu Danelo, a village in Foni Bintang, West Coast Region, where she and 300 others sought refuge, Adama said she left with her twin babies  – a boy and a girl and their 9-year old sister because it was no longer safe at home in Siwol, a village near the border.

Recollecting events as they unfolded, Adama Bojang said, “bullets were landing in our house, bullets were coming from Cassamance and landing in our house.”

Asked if she was afraid upon hearing gunshots, the mother of three responded in affirmative.

“Of course we were afraid, that’s why even the elders left there. Children were crying, going in and out and that is why we are here to be able to hold on to something.”

Another Internally Displaced Person is Madi Gibba, the head of a family of 18 including his three wives that left Siwol to seek refuge in Danelo.

“There is conflict around my area and that conflict is very serious and that is why we all fled. Bullets were landing in our houses so we couldn’t stay there because this brought fear from all ends not only in my village, all the surrounding villages people left.”

“We left behind our cows, goats, chickens and sheep. We left everything behind,” he added.

This latest clash in the decades long armed conflict has once again showed the kind nature of Gambians.

The people of Mbatutu Danelo led by Musa Sanyang, opened their homes to the IDPs, shared their foods with them and made them feel at home.

They do not have much, but the people of Danelo continue to happily share the little they have with the IDPs.

“We have been sharing our food provisions with them since they arrived because they came with nothing,” the alkalo of Danelo Mbatutu Musa Sanyang said.

 “Accommodation too isn’t enough. We sleep on the floor and allow them to sleep on the bed and the beds are not even enough for them,” the village alkalo went on.

“You see that man;” pointing at one of the IDPs “he has been sleeping under the mango tree since he arrived here. We can’t fit in the houses because there were 340 people in this village.”

According to the Gambia Red Cross Society, the conflict has displaced about 900 families in the Gambia affecting more than 5000 people.

The latest clash somewhat temporarily disrupted education as children fear going to school.

All that these IDPs yearn for is lasting peace in the region so that life could return to normalcy.

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