Senegalese Border and Customs agents, have detained two Gambian nationals, after they were accused of trying to smuggle basic commodities, which the traffickers bought from Senegal, and had wanted to sell the merchandise in The Gambian market, amid the mounting border closure, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The detained Gambian nationals: Sarjo Marong, of Badibu India, and one Lamin Jammeh, of Illiasa, were caught with rice, and other commodities at the Nddiba Njie, border post in Senegal. The men were immediately arrested and placed in the cell, pending further investigations into their case.
During interrogations by the Senegalese security agents, both Mr. Marong, and Jammeh said due to the exorbitant price of rice and other commodities in The Gambia, they were compelled to cross the border and to buy rice. The men also said rice is much cheaper in Senegal, compared to their native country, The Gambia.
After obtaining statements from the detained Gambian food traffickers, the Senegalese security agents told the detainees that their conduct was not only reprehensible, but it violates Senegalese law. The men were fined D30, 000 dalasi each before they would be allowed to reunite with their families in The Gambia. The detainees then phoned their relatives in Badibu India, and Illiliasa respectively and explained the situation to them. Both villages are situated along The Gambia/Senegal border.
A source, who reached us by phone told the Freedom Newspaper that the family members of The Gambian detainees in Senegal, have since embarked on a fundraising drive to help secure the release of their loved ones.
Senegal has closed its border with The Gambia. The move, followed the one hundred percent ferry tariff increment by The Gambian government. Senegalese transporters in response have decided to redirect their traffic to Tamba-Kunda. They said such tariff increment is not only exorbitant, but exploitative.
The Macky Sall government hasn’t issued any official statement since the closure of the border. The Jammeh government hasn’t issued any either. Both countries have embarked on closing the border.
Speaking to Freedom Radio Gambia’s Leral Show on Sunday, Grand Momodou Gaye, a Senegalese former Army Commando, and critic of the Macky Sall regime warns that Senegal’s move to detain Gambian food shoppers contravenes Senegalese law. He warns that it is none of Senegal’s business to clampdown on Gambians trying to smuggle food from Senegal to The Gambia.
“It’s up to The Gambian authorities to deny such food traffickers entry into their country, and not the regime of Macky Sall. This kind of illegal kidnapping and detention of citizens of a neighboring country, is a recipe for war. The Macky government has all rights to close its borders with The Gambia, but it doesn’t have the right to detain Gambians who come to our country Senegal to buy food stuff,” Gaye remarked.
Mr. Gaye, said he welcomed Senegal’s move to close its borders with The Gambia, but on the same vein Gaye, noted that any attempt on the side of Senegal, to vilify peaceful loving Gambian citizens in the name of combating food smuggling is absurd.
Mr. Gaye, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, branded Macky Sall, as a weak leader, who lacks the wisdom, virtue, and charisma to lead Senegal. He maintains that both Macky Sall and Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia are liabilities and total disservice to their respective countries.
Journalist Sulayman Mboup, also expressed similar sentiments. He said President Sall being the Chairman of ECOWAS ought to have known better. Mr. Mboup tells Freedom Radio Gambia that the unexplained border closure violates ECOWAS’S protocol on the free movement of people and goods. He noted any matured and responsible government ought to have employed diplomatic channels to resolve the border crisis than allowing a national transport union to cause mayhem at the border. Mr. Mboup, branded President Sall as an incompetent leader, who is clueless, when it comes to governance and diplomacy. Mboup said Sall has once again miserably failed as the leader of Senegal, in view of Sall’s failure to come up with a clear message on the border debacle.
Also weighing in, was Mr. Saihou Mballow, a Gambian political activist based in New York. Mr. Mballow also said he is the least happy with the way and manner President Sall handles the border closure. He said Sall has demonstrated that he is either not in charge of Senegal, or he has abdicated his responsibilities as the President of Senegal. He noted that it is not only laughable to hear that the Senegalese transport union are behind the border closure, but such reports also indicts Macky as a leader, who is not performing his duties as mandated by the people of Senegal.
Mr. Mballow, used to the show to reach out to President Sall to come out with a clear statement about the situation of The Gambia/Senegal border closure. Failure of which, Mballow said President Sall stands to be accused of shirking his responsibility as Commander-in-chief.
According to Mballow, the recent arrest and detention of Sarjo Marong, and Lamin Jammeh, could escalate into a full blown crisis between The Gambia and Senegal, if not properly handled by the two governments with utmost urgency. He said since Senegal is the country, which closed its border with The Gambia, the onus lies on the Macky leadership to inform the public about the circumstances which occasioned the border closure.