Saturday, January 28

Border schools in Foni closed amid reported “heavy gunshots” in Cassamance

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The affected schools include: Jannack LBS, Tamba Kunda Basic Cycle School and Bunuborr LBS respectively.

All the affected schools were closed on Monday morning around 10am. The school children were asked to go home, as teachers also ran for their lives.

The Senegalese Forces stationed in Cassamance are reported to be firing gunshots around the borders.

An anonymous source confirmed the development, saying: “I can confirm to you that our school and two other schools within the border line are all closed. There is a problem going on between the Senegalese Forces and the MFDC rebels,” the source claimed

“We don’t even wait for the authorities to ask us to close. We decided to close ourselves due to the fear and the sound of guns we have been hearing since the early hours of Monday morning. We have now closed the school in order to run for our own lives. It’s only Kappa that is yet to close as of now. We understand that the school’s head didn’t permit them to close the school.”

“Again, inhabitants of Cassamance have been fleeing their villages and coming to the border villages in The Gambia due to the fear. They are migrating from their villages and coming to The Gambian territory for their own safety. I can tell you that some inhabitants of Kalachai, Jongi and Kajalock all in Cassamance, are currently being hosted by Kusamai and Gifanga in The Gambia. Other people have decided to go around Sibanor end,” our source said.

Another source who also spoke to The Point anonymously, said: “Yes it’s true that other schools have closed. That is the situation now. It’s just like what happened last year. You know there has been a military counter offensive between the Senegalese Force and that of the MFDC rebels and also as a result of the uprooting of the cannabis farms in Cassamance. Therefore, as schools that are so close to the border, we are so vulnerable to the sounds of guns and also bullets penetrating inside The Gambia. So that has been happening.”

“We just woke up today in the morning and heard the sounds of heavy gunshots. Yes it is true that most of the schools in the border have been closed. However, Kappa Basic Cycle School did not close. I understand that their people insisted that the school is a little bit far from the border. However, no one can guarantee that it is safe. As far as we are within the border, the movement of these people can be in different directions. They can even move close to us because no one knows.”

“We hear the gunshots as early as 6 a.m. towards 7 a.m. You can notice fear in the children when they come to the school. Whenever they hear the sound of guns, there is always fear in them,” the source posited.

“Classes were a little bit effective, but I can tell you that there was no concentration from the students. Once the children hear the sound of a gun, there is no way they could concentrate. That’s obvious.”

Most of the children attending Kappa Basic Cycle School, the source added, come from the border villages like Karunorr, Ballen, Baipol, Funtang among others. “In fact, there was a parent that came to the school early in the morning. He confronted one of the school teachers and asked the teacher whether they didn’t hear the sound of guns in the morning. We were also monitoring the situation to see whether there is a need to move or close the school.”

“We are monitoring the situation as the event unfolds. We are here at the moment, but if the situation changes, we will surely evacuate because our lives are more important. Others are claiming that the shooting incident is far from us, but we are hearing the sound of the guns. In fact, we heard from our colleagues that there was a bullet that landed at Janack village,” the source added.