Following widespread rumours on the new Gambia government’s alleged position on Casamance, the government over weekend issued a statement explaining The Gambia’s position on the matter. Below is the full statement.
“The government of The Gambia under the leadership of His Excellency President Adama Barrow wishes to reassure the Gambian people of its commitment to peace in the Gambia, the sub-region, especially the southern Senegal region of Casamance and the world over.
“It is in this light that President Barrow being a true believer in the value of peace and peaceful neighbourliness during his recent visit to Senegal offered to his brother President Macky Sall and the people of Senegal his personal commitment and the willingness of his government to support the sisterly republic of Senegal in finding a lasting solution to the over-three-decade-old conflict in the Casamance region of southern Senegal.
“President Barrow and his government believe that sustainable and positive peace in the Casamance is in the common interest of all people, both governments and the entire sub-region.
“The Gambia government therefore considers it as a common moral duty to work together with Senegal and indeed all foreign countries for the stability of our region so that our citizenry can pursue their daily lives in peace and to enable government to bring about much needed development.
“Therefore on the Casamance issue, again the position of The Gambia government is to sincerely and in good faith adopt and pursue a friendly and impartial stance in the search for a durable solution to this conflict. This is the pledge, plea and prayer of The Gambia government.
“However, in recent days the Gambia government has noted with concern, that many debates and discussions in various quarters across the Gambia and abroad on the position of The Gambia government on the Casamance situation has been misconstrued.
“This is amidst speculations that the Gambian territory will be used as launching pad by Senegalese ECOMIG troops to carry out attacks on MFDC bases in the Casamance with others going further to assert that Gambian soldiers will participate in the event of military attack on the MFDC.
“Such rumours have apparently placed great pains on Gambian communities living along the Foni/Casamance border who are apprehensive over the consequences of an outbreak of hostilities between Senegalese military and MFDC.
“This statement seeks to assure these affected communities in particular and the Gambian populace in general, that whereas The Gambia government has committed itself to supporting the Senegalese government find durable peace in the Casamance, The Gambia is neither considering placing troops on Casamance soil nor offering the use of its territory as a launching pad for any attack on the MFDC.
“The affected communities, citizens of The Gambia and all people living in The Gambia are hence advised to go about their normal business in peace and contentment.
“That said, The Gambia government wishes to categorically state that The Gambia will not also on the other hand allow the use of its territory by any person or groups of armed or unarmed individuals to destabilise or incite violence in the Casamance or any other part of the world.”