By Mustapha Jallow
A group of armed men from neighboring Senegal launched an attack on Jahanka village on the Gambian side of the border, where a Fire and Rescue Service officer was shot, villagers told Foroyaa.
Abdoulie Boye, an eye-witness to the incident which occurred on Monday May 21st, said villager from Kerr Yorro, Kerr Seni and other small villages in the environ of the Senegalese side of the border, attacked Jahanka residents at about 9 am in the morning, claiming ownership of land on both sides of the border between Gambia/Senegal.
‘‘They came in larger numbers armed with local guns, knives, cutlasses and other types of weapons, threatening us that they will burn down our village. They claimed that the lands we occupy and farm does not belong to us. This unsolved border crisis would make the relationship between our two countries ugly. When they came we have no choice but to defend our side and they opened fire on an officer who was later rushed to Bansang hospital,’’ he explained.
He said the armed groups have returned to their village in Senegal following the immediate intervention of Gambian security forces who were just in the area at the time. According to Boye, one among the armed men was arrested with his cutlass and motor-bicycle and taken to the Bansang Police station.
‘‘As am speaking to you, Jahanka is under the control of armed Gambian troops and the Commissioner of the Police in the region, village elders and youth, are currently holding talks at the Alkalo’s home, to calm down the situation,’’ he told this reporter. Independent reports also talk of clashes and attacks over the years, regarding timber exploitation across the Senegalese side of the border.
When contacted, Police spokesperson Superintendent David Kujabi, confirmed the story but said they were gathering the facts. Superintendent Kujabi also said there was chase and an FRS officer was shot in the event. He however promised to share with the media, full details of what happened as soon as investigations of the incident are complete.
At the time of going to press, Foroyaa has learnt that the FRS officer who was wounded in the incident, has been referred to the country’s main hospital in Banjul.