By Sarjo Brito
One Abdou Jammeh who works under the Criminal Investigation Department of The Gambia Police Force, and currently posted in Kanilai has reportedly gone missing amid tensions between Senegalese forces and elements of the separatist rebel group in Cassamance (Movement of Democratic Forces of Cassamance).
In an exclusive interview with The Fatu Network, a cousin to Abdou who identified himself as Yusupha Colley said his family has been restless since yesterday and that all efforts to find out their brother’s whereabouts from both Gambian authorities and Senegalese security officials seems to prove futile so far.
The aggrieved family member alleged that his cousin was captured by Senegalese security forces while trying to do his job as an officer following a distress call from a villager in Kapa.
‘’Abdou happened to be my cousin and he is an agent of the police force. We were together on Monday when suddenly, his telephone rang. The person he was speaking to was telling him that there was an exchange of fire between the Senegalese soldiers and MFDC forces. He has been posted here for a very long time and the place the call was coming from is within his area of responsibility’’
‘’he told me he was going to the scene to get first-hand information on what’s happening. I told him to be careful because live ammunitions were involved, and he was not armed. He also spoke to his Station Officer at Bwiam to put him in the picture. He went to a village called Kapa, which is about 100 or 200 meters from Kampant. When they got there, he realized the information he got was true, that were was an exchange of fire indeed. That’s when he decided to notify his Station Officer in Bwiam.
‘’On his way coming home from Kampant with a vehicle, they were stopped by some Senegalese soldiers who were also trying to enter the bush as re-enforcement. They were stopped and questioned on where they were coming from. Abdou identified himself as an officer of the Gambia police and why he was in the area. He was with two other guys who travelled to the area to recue their sister and her two children. The Senegalese soldiers asked them to park and step out of the vehicle. Abdou stepped out of the vehicle and appealed to the soldiers to allow him to get the civilians he was with back to safety, especially the lady and her two children who were already in a state of panic because of the crossfires. Whilst the vehicle driver tried to move to get the car to a safer place, the Senegalese soldiers started to fire at the vehicle. Abdou had already alighted the vehicle’’
According to Yusupha Colley, the vehicle driver who was with Abdou told them that Abdou was immediately taken into custody by the Senegalese Soldiers.
‘’What I cannot confirm is if Abdou had his police identification documents on him or not. But all I know is they arrested a Gambian officer, doing his job, in his country.
Asked if Gambian authorities have been notified about his missing cousin, this is what Yusupha Colley said:
‘’We are just coming back from the station. We went to see the Station Officer to tell him that our brother is missing. The people he was travelling in the same vehicle have been released but Abdou is nowhere to be found. We were told they are following the situation and will keep us updated accordingly’’
The armed struggle in Casamance was ignited in March 1982. The conflict which has been described by analysts as neither war nor peace has claimed thousands of lives in the region and displacing many others since its beginning. Villages around the border are unfortunately inhabited by civilian populations who continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict between the Government of Senegal and the (MFDC).