Kanilai gunshots due to miscommunication – Interior Minister

By Kebba Jeffang

The gunshots in Kanilai last week was as a result of miscommunication between the ECOMIG forces and Gambian soldiers, Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty told the media at a press briefing in his office in Banjul on Friday.

He said there is no cause for alarm as the situation is calm and unserious.

He confirmed that 3 Gambians soldiers were shot and wounded on their legs but their injuries were not life-threatening. He said the incident was a result of miscommunication between the command bases of both sides.

“At the time of the incident, our armed forces did not get clearance from the Gambia Armed Forces command base. The Gambian soldiers could not allow ECOMIG access. Fundamentally, the Senegalese forces also, acting within their mandate which allows them unrestricted access to that area, also felt that they have a right of access to the place,” Fatty said.

“There was no intentional effort by Senegalese soldiers to shoot anybody. It was an accidental discharge that resulted into minor injuries. They were all taken to the hospital and released the same day. The incident was regrettable…”

He reiterated that there is no cause for alarm as there was no serious confrontation between the Gambia Arm Forces and ECOMIG forces on the ground. He said it was a miscommunication that resulted to what transpired.

“The meeting took place between the ECOMIG and Gambian sides and we have reaffirmed our commitment to work together to secure the country. There is no confrontation,” he emphasised.

Fatty further praised Gambian soldiers for the responsible and disciplined attitude with which they handled the situation.

“Our soldiers are very experienced and they are very disciplined. They did not return fire which really helped in deescalating the tension. All measures have been taken to avert this kind of a situation,” he said.

Fatty said the incident has been used by people he called ‘confusionists’ to peddle rumours that the country is not safe or certain people are being targeted.

“ECOMIG forces are not here to be against us. They are here for us,” he emphasised.