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People still move freely despite border closure

Jun 23, 2020, 12:56 PM | Article By: Tumani Baldeh

Despite the closure of all Gambian border entry points, people still move freely between The Gambia and Senegal.

An eye witness, Bubacarr Boye, who spoke to The Point on Saturday, explained that one of the busiest entry points is the Brikama-Ba border post and other surrounding villages linking Patar village of Cassamance.

He confirmed that dozens of Senegalese frequently enter Gambian soil through Brikama-Ba to run business transactions and safely return to Cassamance without any obstacle.

According to him, “people from Senegal come into The Gambia to visit their relatives for more than two, three weeks without being intercepted or screened,” – something he described as risky for Gambians during this coronavirus pandemic.

He added that others come all the way from Kolda to The Gambia, saying this is mostly done by motorbikes, horse and donkey carts.

Mr. Boye stated that sometimes these people would meet Gambian police officers at the border post and would negotiate or bribe the officers who would then let them enter the country. He added that others use the porous borders to enter the country without being detected.

Another source who spoke to our reporter on the condition of anonymity, said series of traditional marriages, naming ceremonies and other ceremonial activities take place in the Central River Region with more than the designated number of attendees stipulated by the government. He described the rampant ceremonies as a concern with regard to the spread of covid-19.

Head of the covid-19 chief security for CRR south, Lamin Manneh, denied the claims saying, his patrol team is always at the border monitoring the in and out of people between the two states.

According to him, if anyone is caught trying to enter or leave the country they would face the full force of the law.

“We respect the law, and my team has never received any bribe from any person trying to enter The Gambia”, he stated.

Manneh, however, pointed out their constraints such as lack of mobility. He thus called on the government to help them with vehicles to better control all border entry points which they are currently unable to do.

He called on Gambians especially natives of CRR to report anyone suspected of entering The Gambia from Senegal or any other country to help ease their work.

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