Over 6,000 displaced in Gambia, Senegal after Casamance mission
A few weeks ago, the Senegalese military launched an operation against rebels in the Casamance region, which borders Gambia.
More than 6,000 people have fled their homes in Gambia and Senegal following clashes between Senegalese soldiers and separatists near the Gambian border.
The figures came in a statement from the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) in the Gambia on Tuesday.
On March 13, the Senegalese military launched an operation against rebels fighting for independence in the West African country’s southern Casamance region, which borders Gambia.
Fighting pushed 691 people in Casamance to cross over and seek refuge in Gambia, a tiny nation of about 2 million people almost fully enveloped by Senegal, the NDMA said in an assessment of the aftermath.
A further 5,626 people were displaced within the Gambia itself after Senegalese bullets landed in border villages. Households hosting the affected are in need of humanitarian assistance, it added.
The Casamance separatist movement, which has thrived on perceived marginalisation of the region wedged between The Gambia to its north and Guinea-Bissau to the south, dates back to 1982.
It has been largely dormant since a ceasefire in 2014. But it has continued to finance itself through timber trafficking between Senegal and Gambia and launches occasional attacks.
Two Senegalese soldiers were killed when fighting last flared up in January this year.