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Police confirm mass arrests of Gambian youths by Senegalese soldiers

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By Alagie Manneh

The Gambia police have confirmed reports of mass arrests of young Gambians by Senegalese forces in a border village in the southern separatist region of Casamance Monday.

According to the chairman of Kafuta Tumbung VDC, the boys were arrested while “fetching firewood” along the border. Some of the boys were from Tanji, he added.

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They have since been taken to Ziguinchor, were they are currently being held, the police confirmed.

Cadet ASP Binta Njie-Jatta, told The Standard yesterday that the incident occurred within “a rebel zone in Senegal currently under strict restrictions in respect to firewood fetching, timber and cannabis smuggling”.

Early and unconfirmed reports indicated that the boys went looking for the barks of a mahogany tree locally referred to as faara for an initiation ceremony.

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At least 24 of them are being held, the ASP said. She did not give further details, saying the matter was being investigated.

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