By Omar Bah
The National Assembly member for Foñi Bintang, Bakary K. Badjie has confirmed to The Standard yesterday the arrest of a Gambian by Senegalese forces at the border.
The unhappy lawmaker said Lamin Sanyang, a native of Foni Bitta, was arrested by Senegalese forces on Saturday when he allegedly entered Nyangbolong, a Senegalese border village to retrieve his donkey.
The MP said families of the young man believe the Senegalese forces may mistake him for a rebel. He said Sanyang has been detained in Casamance since Saturday and his family is very worried and wants the government to intervene and secure his immediate release.
There has been a heavy presence of Senegalese forces at the Gambia-Senegal border in Casamance since they launched an assault in March to dismantle the MFDC rebel base.
But MP Badjie said the government should not let the people of Foñi be victims of the Senegalese forces.
“I have contacted the Chief of Defence Staff Yakuba Drammeh but he told me they cannot do anything about it because they have asked the people of Foñi to stop going to the borderline and also restrict their animals from crossing the border. But I told him the borders are such that it would be difficult to completely restrict people from crossing the other side talk less of animals,” Honourable Badjie said. The lawmaker said he further appealed to CDS to contact his compatriot in Senegal to beg him to release Mr Sanyang but he refused. “When he told me that I cut off the phone,” he said. He said the Gambian people should have the right to enter Casamance because the two countries are not at war.
Honourable Badjie said he has also reported the matter to the ministry of foreign affairs but the person he was recommended to, told him he was going to travel outside of the country.
“As we speak, I am confused because the family is very worried and they are putting too much pressure on me. I want President Adama Barrow to man up and stop being a puppet of Senegal. We cannot afford to surrender our sovereignty to Senegal,” he said.
He said the government should ensure the people of Foñi enjoy the same privileges other Gambians are enjoying. “I want to challenge my fellow National Assembly members to take these security issues very seriously. Gambians in other parts of the country should not go to bed and sleep comfortably while those in Foñi go to bed everyday under unbearable circumstances,” he chastised.