Gambia and Senegal held talks on Sunday in a bid to end a border dispute which has lasted three months and had negative effects on both countries.
In February, Gambia imposed a drastic fee increase on trucks entering the Gambia. The west African country is totally surrounded by Senegal hence Senegalese truck drivers are the most affected most by the tariff. This caused them to blockade the border.
“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
The tariff has since been reverted to its original price yet Senegalese truck drivers are unhappy with the border blockades. Some even go as far as using a detour all the way round Senegal in a bid to avoid Gambian custom officers.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has tried solving the border dispute to no avail.
Prior to the meeting between Foreign ministers of both countries, President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia had said;
“I have no intention of going to settle the issue of the border because our border is opened. They closed the border and I will not negotiate with someone that closed the border.”
He also added that the border blockade by Senegalese drivers affects Senegalese more than the Gambians.
“If the people in Senegal are suffering, they should blame their government and not me because they are the ones that closed the border. People are suffering and that is the truth,”
Foreign Ministers Nene McDouall-Geye of Gambia and Mankeur Ndiaye of Senegal who met in Dakar are yet to provide a solution to provide a solution to the border dispute.