President Adama Barrow has said he is “constantly” in communication with Senegalese president Macky Sall over the Casamance conflict which has spilled into the Gambian side of the border, internally displacing thousands of residents in Foñi.
In a televised speech on Sunday in observance of the Muslim feast of Eid-ul-Fitr, President Barrow said the protracted conflict has caused distress in The Gambia and called for dialogue to end it.
“Peace is priceless. The recent conflict in the Casamance region of Senegal displaced many families and communities. This has impacted gravely on communities in parts of Foñi, on Gambian territory; for example, schools have been disrupted, families separated, and property destroyed.
As good neighbours with Senegal, I am constantly in touch with my brother, President Macky Sall, to ensure that peace prevails in the region. We are ‘one people’ in two nations, and through dialogue, a peaceful resolution could be forged to end the long-standing conflict in the area,” the president said.
Prices of basic commodities have surged in the country recently. President Barrow said his government has introduced short-term solutions, urging Gambians to redirect focus on agriculture in order to cut reliance on imported food commodities.
He said: “I am sadly aware of the price hikes, and the resulting challenges posed to families. In response, my government has taken steps to cut down on expenditure, and subsidise the price of fuel to ease the hardship arising from the ever-increasing price of fuel on the world market.
These are temporary government measures, so I call on all Gambians to engage in more sustainable strategies, including intensifying agriculture for local consumption.
Out of necessity, we have to minimise our reliance on imported essential food commodities as much as we can. The surest way to achieve this is to get serious about farming.”
The past few months have shown rise in fatal road traffic accidents which have claimed dozens of lives. The Gambia police have deployed officers in every 2km to monitor and to make sure drivers comply with traffic regulations as well as ensure vehicles are roadworthy. The president cautioned drivers to be careful.
“Recently, there has been a series of unfortunate and deadly accidents. As a result, I urge all drivers to drive safely and abide by the traffic rules. Equally, I advise the traffic police to be more vigilant…Let us hold onto our values and good ethics to guide the younger generation, remembering that the better we conduct ourselves and embrace one another, the brighter our prospects of a happier and more fulfilling life,” the president noted.