By Mustapha Jarju
Major Alfred Marteye, Public Relation Officer (PRO) of ECOWAS military Mission in the Gambia has confirmed to The Voice newspaper that one soldier serving under the ECOMIG Senegalese contingent in The Gambia was killed in a bullet exchange between the Senegalese contingent forces and the rebels at the Casamance border.
Also, he confirmed further the killing of a rebel whose weapon was confiscated by the Senegalese force but cannot. “I cannot confirm the exact amount of casualties as the number could be more than two,” Major Marteye said in an interview with this reporter via telephone.
According to him, the incident started around 11 am on Monday with rebel firing at Senegalese contingent patrol team leading dead of a Senegalese soldier.
Fight between the MFDC rebels and the ECOMIG Senegalese contingent which is currently on a Peacekeeping Mission in The Gambia, started in the Casamance territory around Ballen village in Foni Kansala which is not far from the Senegalese border of Casamance.
In an exclusive interview with the, Alkalo of Kampant village in Foni Kansala, Modou Faal Bojang said, the incident started around 11am on Monday 24th January 2022, when a truck loaded with logs that came from Casamance was chased by the ECOMIC Forces in to the Casamance region which the fight between the ECOMIG forces and the Rebels around the border village of Ballen in The Gambia.
In his narration, “The Military chase a vehicle that wants to take the Senegambia road and meet with the ECOWAS Senegalese soldiers and the truck driver turned immediately and ran into Casamance, and the Senegalese soldiers followed them to Casamance. Shortly we heard gun sounds coming from the border.” The gun firing started when the Senegalese contingent get into the Casamance border that’s when the rebel attack them.
Alkalio Bojang added that, the schools in Kappa village which is next to the Ballen village at the border and two (2) kilometers away from the Trans-Gambia highway and other villages around the area did not learn yesterday due to the fear in pupils and their teachers around the schools in the area.
“All the teachers with their students flee and the surrounding villages near the border village`s like Ballen, Kunken and other villages all flee to Kampant because of the fear of the fight between the two forces at the border”, he said.
He affirmed to us that “This is something happening and is like the fight is in Kappa where the school is and after that village is where you have the village where the border is. The rebels have earlier warned the Senegalese forces on Peacekeeping Mission in The Gambia not to cross the border and the Senegalese this time around crossed the border which led to the fight and the first military vehicle that entered the Casamance border was seized by the Rebels.”
The Kampant Alkalo further explained that he cannot confirm, either there was any casualty or any person been arrested by the rebels but “the fight is now in Kappa and the situation is getting worst as I am speaking to you, many people left their homes and residents to seek for better place to protect their lives and livelihood in Kampant, Bwiam and other villages in Foni Berefet.
Bojang said this is the first time they are facing such a fear and alarm around the area, ‘currently there are Gambian soldiers too at the area to make sure there is stability’, he concluded by saying if the matter gets worse than these we will also leave the area.