Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Gambia, Senegal hold border blockade talks

15 May 2016, 16:26

Karang - Senegal and Gambia will hold talks on Sunday aimed at ending a three-month border blockade that has created shortages of essential daily items on both sides of the frontier.

Gambian authorities slapped a hundred-fold hike on fees for trucks entering its territory -- which is completely surrounded by Senegal -- without warning in February, infuriating Senegalese drivers who are now blockading the border.

Since then, Senegalese and Gambians alike have suffered shortages and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has waded in to mediate the dispute, so far without success.

Exacerbating tensions, a long-promised bridge across the river that takes up most of Gambia's territory has been delayed for decades, though is now due to be completed in 2017.

"This is the sixth blockade since 2000... we are demanding the border be opened at all hours, not closed every day between 7pm and 7am, and a bridge," Pape Seydou Dianko, a well-known figure among Senegal's militant transport unions, told AFP last week in the sleepy Senegalese border town of Karang where a long line of trucks sat idle.

Bad-tempered border exchanges

Dianko and his allies pose a headache for the two countries' foreign ministers whose meeting in Dakar will be the first official talks on the topic since the border was effectively sealed off to commercial traffic.

Although the Gambian authorities have since reverted to their original tariff, years of bad-tempered exchanges at the border have taken their toll, and Senegal's deliverymen are still refusing to allow the free passage of goods.

The result is a 500km detour around Gambian territory from Senegal's northern cities in order to access the rural southern region of Casamance.

"The detour is tough but it's the price to pay for the endless hassle from the Gambian police and customs officers," said Senegalese transporter and trade unionist Baby Toure at the Keur Ayib border post.

'Tired' of blockade

Senegalese media reported last month that power outages have become ever more frequent in the Gambian capital due to a lack of fuel.

"In Gambia, people are tired of the blockade. We are short of many items, including salt. This situation has to be resolved," said one resident of the Gambian border village Keur Ali, who asked not to be named.

Senegalese driver Modou Gueye found himself stuck in Keur Ali by the closure, and had to leave his vehicle where it stood. Although the blockade applies to all commercial vehicles, passengers are still allowed to cross.

"My truck, which is full of fabric, has been stuck here for three months," he said, while his colleagues reported being forced to rent properties to store their goods.

Gambians are well-used to such deprivations: in 2005 a months-long blockade over ferry tariffs by Senegalese truckers left Gambians with a shortage of bottled butane and no cement, devastating its construction industry and driving up food prices.

The dispute flared up again in 2014 when Senegal shut the frontier for several weeks.

On Friday, Senegal's foreign minister said he was "ready" to discuss the current border dispute, which although has never received official backing by Dakar, has never been publicly condemned.



Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Dating that one person that socie...

Works at a massage parlour. Works at Millionaires Club (that one on Baricho road) - you know the ones I am talking about. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
What do men mean when they say th...

As much as men think they are the ones confused by relationships, they have a better idea of it than most women actually do. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Ruto urges African leaders to shu...

DP William Ruto has called on African nations to shun help from western forces, saying that they can solve their own problems. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Don't be corrupt like your elders...

Shun corruption at all costs, President Uhuru Kenyatta urges Kenyan youth. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Senators order PS to resign over ...

The Senate Health Committee has told Health PS Nicholas Muraguri to resign over the unaccounted for KES 5 billion. Read more...