By Mustapha Jallow
This reporter was asked to investigate a report of heavy exchange of gunshots between the Senegalese Military and members of a rebel faction in Casamance, which sound was heard by locals in Bullock, Foni Berefet District of the West Coast Region of the Gambia.
Speaking on Saturday at Bullock to a refugee who fled his village amid fear of heavy bombardment and intense fighting in the unstable region, he said fighting erupted on 7th August, 2014, when two commercial vehicles were seized, between Djululung and Selete, by rebels belonging to the Jakai camp based in Coureg.
Further investigation revealed that passengers in the two seven passenger cars reported their ordeal at the Military base which prompted the chase of the rebels with a helicopter leading to exchange of shooting. The source indicated that one of the vehicles was recovered by the said Military when the rebels ran away towards their Camp.
Another source from a village near the border revealed that on 15th August 2014, heavy sound of gunshots were heard which suggests that more fighting has erupted in the long troubled region. “We are desperate and really disturbed because we feel threatened and scared and have to flee for the safety of our lives. Whenever there is exchange of gunshots all farmers who have been working on their farms at the time of the fight would abandon all farming activities and flee,” a source explained to this reporter.
This reporter would contact the Senegalese High Commission to find out what the Senegalese authorities intend to do to prevent any escalation of the conflict.
It is difficult to conclude whether the incidents are manifestations of a rebellion or banditry by a group in the camps. More investigation is needed.