Abdoulie G. Dibba
21 February 2015 – The closure of the Farafenni- Kerr Ayib border, as a result of the protest by the Senegalese road transport union officials against the introduction of a new tariff by The Gambia on all Senegal registered vehicles entering the Gambia, is still in place, as confirmed by this reporter who visited the area over the weekend.
When they were approached on the issue, the Senegalese transport owners and their representatives said they are still protesting against the introduction of a new tariff by the Gambian authorities for their trucks to be paying 400,000 francs CFA (which is more than D26,000) in addition to the 1000 francs CFA per tonne which they have been paying at the ferry crossings. According to them, this new tariff by the Gambian customs is exorbitant and unacceptable.
While at the border, this reporter observed that the Senegalese
commercial passenger vehicles would come and stop at the car park on the Senegal side where they discharge their passengers and unload their wares which are then transported on horse-carts to the Gambian side of the border.
When these drivers were approached to find out their take on this border issue, one Mustapha Camara, the driver of a small commercial passenger vehicle with Gambian registration, said they were sharing the same car park in Kerr Ayib with their Senegalese colleagues before the border closure but that they are asked to leave.
“We are now using an area on the Gambian side of the border as a car park but the problem we are facing here is that the horse carts which are allowed entry into the car park on the Senegalese side carry both passengers and goods all the way to Farafenni and depriving us of a return trip,” he complained.
Kebba Njie, the driver of a Gambian registered truck carrying goods bound for Senegal, told this reporter that he is not being allowed to enter because he was denied a ‘laissez passe’ by the Senegalese security at the border.
While the reporter was still there, he witnessed two Gambian vehicles with registration numbers GFATM 99 and BJL 1084G being denied entry into Senegal by the Senegalese security at the border.