By Mafugi Ceesay
Major Lamin Sanyang, the spokesperson of the Gambia Armed Forces has confirmed to The Standard that the Gambian military are aware of the intrusion of Senegalese soldiers into a Gambian village and firing warning shots in the air.
“We are aware and we have sent our operatives there to assist the unit on the ground to gather more information. Once we gather all the information we will be able to furnish the public reliably as to what happened. But at the moment, we understand when they were leaving, the Senegalese soldiers fired warning shots in the air,” Major Sanyang explained.
Villagers told The Standard that armed Senegalese soldiers pursued a truck driver into the Kombo East village of Omorto and wanted to forcibly take him away but the village folk obstructed them and prevented them from taking him away.
Sources reported that the driver was believed to be engaged in trafficking timber from the southern Senegalese restive region of Casamance.
The Gambia and Senegal signed a controversial hot-pursuit agreement in March 2017 which permits security officers to pursue offenders into each other’s country for up to 5km under certain circumstances.
Exactly a year to date on 20 May 2020, the Gambian military deployed troops to the Lower River Region border village of Sare Omar after at least a score of Senegalese soldiers in three pick-ups vehicles and an armoured personnel carrier entered the village. The Senegalese soldiers were reportedly on routine border patrols and inadvertently entered the village.
Earlier this year in March, armed Senegalese forest rangers pursued one Omar Ndiaye, a Senegalese, across the border into the same Sare Omar village and shot him in the knee.
Local media reports indicated that the rangers confiscated nine horse drawn carts and two motorbikes from the village which is believed to be a base for the smuggled timbers.