Gambia: A lull hoped for after clashes between Gambians and Senegalese in Sanyang

More than 250 Senegalese nationals, according to the Gambian Red Cross, fled the fishing village of Sanyang, about 40 kilometers south of Banjul, after clashes between Senegalese and Gambians last week. It all started with the death of a Gambian man who was stabbed to death on the night of March 14-15 by a Senegalese fisherman who was trying to rob him. Riots broke out in the locality. Senegalese authorities are trying to ease tensions.
One death, ransacked businesses, burned dugout canoes and a police station, dozens of Senegalese families taking refuge in a school in the nearby town of Batokunku, under the protection of the Gambian police… How did it come to this? Bassirou Sène, Senegal’s ambassador to Banjul, says: “For the first time, it has come to this degree of violence. There was an attempted robbery, which was stopped by the victim, who was fatally injured. It all started from there. We didn’t expect it. The Senegalese community lives in perfect harmony with the Gambian population. In Sanyang, some people have lived there for 50 years! ”
“The Senegalese president, Macky Sall, and his Gambian counterpart, Adama Barrow, display their closeness at every opportunity. But on the ground, relations “are more complex,” says an observer, especially with the Senegalese military presence that continues as part of the ECOWAS peacekeeping force.
Ambassador Bassirou Sène warned against the risk of confusion: “I presented the regrets of the entire Senegalese nation and asked that people agree to renew relations and revive the economy. The base is the fishing economy. ”
After discussions and sensitizations to avoid a resurgence of tensions, the return of the Senegalese to Sanyang is scheduled, in principle, by Friday, March 26.

About Geraldine Boechat 1630 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia