Tuesday, March 28

UDP urges gov’t to take action on clash of ECOMIG-MFDC

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By Mustapha Jarju

The United Democratic Party has urged the Barrow-led government to take action on the clash between the Senegalese ECOMIG soldiers and MFDC rebels at the country border.

“The UDP calls on the Gambia government under the leadership of President Adama Barrow to take an urgent action on a clash that occurred between the Senegalese soldiers and suspected rebels, in an untoward incident that occurred in Foni in the vicinity of villages close to the Gambia-Senegal border. Whereas not all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the incident are clear to the citizens of The Gambia, UDP believes that this grave situation requires urgent action from the Gambia Government.

“To be clear this is not the first time that violent cross-border incidents have occurred across the Gambia and Senegal borders, but this incident seems to be more serious, considering the fatalities involving Senegalese Soldiers with the ECOMIG Contingent in The Gambia. The presence of Senegalese soldiers as part of ECOMIG deployment is pursuant to a mandate conferred by ECOWAS owing to ex-president Jammeh’s refusal to peacefully hand over power to President Adama Barrow in 2017,” the party said.

“It is clear that President Macky Sall of the sister Republic of Senegal has sent a condolence message to the families of the Senegalese with the ECOMIG Forces in The Gambia for the soldiers who lost their lives during the clash between the rebel and the Senegalese forces in the Gambia,” it added.

According to the party, it’s necessary for both the Gambian and Senegalese governments to make the citizens of the two nations be aware of the facts and circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident that occurred in Foni border which led to residents leaving their homes and villages.

“Otherwise, rumours and innuendoes may inflame an already volatile situation leading to undesirable consequences in the friendly relations between The Gambia and Senegal,” the party said.

The party also expressed serious concerns about the blatant disregard for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of The Gambia that this incident has put in the spotlight, adding “it believes in the sovereign equality of nations and therefore to urge the two states to continue to strengthen the historic Gambia–Senegal relationship, which is unique and indispensable.

“For the sake of peace and the security of the citizens in the areas affected, the two governments must work together to avert armed conflicts in the sub region. With that regard, “UDP welcomes the establishment of the Presidential Taskforce to investigate the matter. UDP expects that the investigation will be thorough and the findings will be implemented. The Gambia Government should, however, never allow the internal tensions and contradictions in Senegal to be played out on Gambian soil.

“Given The Gambia’s unique geographical location surrounded by Senegal on all sides except in the west, it is relatively easy for internal conflicts of Senegal to spill over the porous borders between the two countries,” the party noted.