Senegal Shuts Doors at Gambian Commercial Vehicles

By Gambian Correspondent – Gambian commercial vehicles are being denied entry into the neighbouring Senegal, Mr Jagana, a Gambian bussinessman who returned from Senegal told The Daily News.

At Amdalai-Karang border post, Gambian commercial vehicles formed a long queue in an effort to enter Senegal, but Senegal has shut its doors at them.

The Daily News gathers that the National Road Transport Union of Senegal last week Thursday held a meeting in Kaolack, Senegal where they agreed to embark on a protest against alleged harassment, high fees, and numerous check points in The Gambia, among others.

The Senegalese transporters have unilaterally boycotted Gambian routes and have ordered vehicles owners to take the longer route through Tambacounda while denying Gambian commercial vehicles entry into Senegal.

Mr Ousman Drammeh, the president of Gambian Transport Union said his union is ready to negotiate with their Senegalese counterparts.

“We can resolve this problem,” he confidently told The Daily News yesterday.

He was however quick to point out the conflict of interest between the transport union and transport association. The latter, he said, has attempted to negotiate with the Senegalese protesters but they were unattended because the Senegalese transport union said it will only negotiate with their counterparts, not the association.

Mr Drammeh also highlighted the challenges in trying to get in touch with Gambian authorities to discuss issues of this nature amid unnecessary bureaucracy.

A similar border standoff had emerged in 2005 when The Gambia’s decision to raise ferry tariffs prompted Senegalese transport union to boycott Gambian routes, a move that sent shock economic waves, particularly on Gambian economy.

The border was re-opened following President Jammeh’s one-day working visit to Senegal mediated by then President Olunsegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.