By Omar Bah
The Minister of Defense Sering Modou Njie yesterday told lawmakers that government has seriously engaged the Senegalese government about the need for them to respect Gambia’s sovereignty.
“Our airspace and land territory are our national sovereignty and we must commit ourselves to protect it. For the incidents that happened in the past, we have seriously engaged our Senegalese counterparts to make sure that such do not occur again. Let me make it very clear that any use of our national territory should be expressed with the approval of the government of the Gambia. We have seriously expressed this with our Senegalese counterparts that they must respect our air and land territory as our national sovereignty,” Minister Njie said.
Responding to a question raised by Kansala NAM Almameh Gibba on what the government is doing to address the crisis in Foni where several residents were killed across the border by Senegalese drones, Minister Njie said: “We have addressed this matter with the Senegalese government. We informed them that their military planners and those responsible for making strategic decisions should be extra careful when firing to ensure their drones do not land in Gambian territory. It is imperative to note that peace in Foni means peace in the Gambia and insecurity in Foni means insecurity in the Gambia. That is why the Gambia Armed Forces is strengthening its deployment in Foni to support the 4 Infantry Battalion’s operations in Kanilai as a show of force to restore confidence of the people and keep Foni in general safe and secure for the residents in the area to go about their normal business. We have engaged our Senegalese counterpart to make sure that such doesn’t happen in our land and airspace again and this we have addressed seriously.”
Commenting on NAM Gibba’s claims that the GAF contingent that was deployed in the area to assist the camp in Kanilai has been withdrawn, Minister Njie said: “If I understand you well you are talking about our deployments around Foni. Our deployment continues to exercise their duty around the border area to give confidence and to restore peace in the area. That is the instruction we give to our troops and that they would maintain.” The minister said government will take steps to engage the people of Foni and the surrounding communities in the border. “We have engaged the border commission and they have been intensifying their efforts in the area,” he said.