By Amara Thoronka
Government of The Gambia has in a press release dated 14th March 2022 stated that The Gambia will neither be used as a launching pad nor allow anyone to enter the country with arms and ammunition.
A launching pad is a special area from which a spacecraft or missiles are launched.
“President Barrow also wishes to reassure citizens, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps that The Gambia will neither be used as a launching pad nor allow anyone to enter the country with arms and ammunition,” states the government press statement.
This follows the confirmation of instability and fear among Gambians in the Gambia-Senegalese border of Foni. According to the release, this is due to a military operation carried out by Senegal against MFDC separatists in its southern region of Cassamance on Sunday 13th March 2022.
“It has come to the awareness of The Gambia Government that Senegal launched a ‘Military Operation’ against MFDC separatists in its southern region of Cassamance on Sunday 13th March, 2022. Given its proximity to The Gambia, several communities and villages particularly in Foni Bondali, Foni Kansala and Foni Bintang Karanai Districts have been affected by sounds of heavy gunfire amid reports of shells landing in these Gambian border villages. The Gambia Government can confirm that as of last night, several Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees from the border areas began arriving and are being registered in the villages of Foni Bintang, Foni Kansala and Foni Bintang Karanai,” the press release explains.
Gambia President Adama Barrow is said to have directed a vigilant and robust border patrols, intensifying security activities on The Gambian border for the safety of citizens as well as safeguarding the territorial integrity of the country against any potential foreign threat.
In the wake of the military operation and its attendant refugee situation, President Adama Barrow has directed the Vice President to work with the relevant Ministries, Government Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to urgently respond to the pressing needs of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.
“The Gambia continues its peaceful advocacy for a resolution of the Cassamance Conflict and envisages lasting peace, security and stability in our region. Meanwhile, The Gambia Government strongly urges citizens to desist from spreading false news and recycling of old videos and audios of similar past events to create confusion and fear in the minds of innocent, peace loving citizens affected by this conflict,” government warns.
The MFDC separatists in the Senegalese southern region of Cassamance have been operating for decades, claiming many lives.