By Omar Bah
The Union of transport operators in The Gambia has declared that from today, Wednesday no commercial Senegalese vehicle will be allowed to come into The Gambia.
The Union said it has no option but to adopt a tit-for-tat policy against Senegalese operators who have unilaterally decided to stop Gambian commercial vehicles from taking passengers to Senegal.
“We want to make it clear that effective 19 February [today] no Senegalese commercial vehicle will be allowed to carry passengers into The Gambia at all the borders, Amdalai, Farafenni, Giboro or Sinoba, whether in transit or not. We don’t care,” Omar Ceesay, the President of The Gambia Transport Union told journalists on Monday.
Ceesay also added: “We have used all diplomatic and humanitarian channels to solve the problem but they [Senegalese Transport Union] refused to cooperate. They said their decision is not negotiable. So, we are also saying enough is enough”.
Last weekend, one of the government- owned Gambia Transport Service Corporation bus was blocked at the Karang border. A few weeks earlier, a buses was attacked leading to injuries by some passengers and had to return to the Gambian territory.
“We will no longer condone Senegal’s move to deny us access to the other side of the border. So we have now taken our position. No Senegalese commercial vehicle would be allowed to enter The Gambia with passengers,” Cesay emphasized in a telephone chat with The Standard last evening.
Ceesay accused the Senegalese Transport Union of violating the Ecowas protocol on free movement of people and goods as well as the inter-state transport permit agreement signed by the two presidents in 2018 which allows commercial drivers from the two countries to transport passengers located in the region.
“The current border crisis amounts to human rights violation. We have long been engaging them for dialogue but they refused to hold any talks with us. So, we have decided to retaliate,” he added.