News / Africa

In Senegal, Concerns Linger after Gambia Blockade Lifted

Papiss Sadio, left, stands next to another driver in the main truck garage in the southern Senegalese city, Ziguinchor
Papiss Sadio, left, stands next to another driver in the main truck garage in the southern Senegalese city, Ziguinchor

Senegalese truck drivers are resuming transport through Gambia after a two-month blockade imposed due to complaints of mistreatment and harassment by Gambian security forces.  

Trucking in Senegal involves a long, often pot-holed route that cuts across Gambia, the small, 35-kilometer-wide country along the Gambia River.

It is an important road for Senegal because it is the most direct route between fruits and vegetables from the agricultural south to the Sahelian north.

Senegalese truckers are cautiously resuming this route after a two-month blockade of Gambia’s border that drivers imposed because of what they call harassment and human rights abuses by Gambia’s highway patrol.

Papiss Sadio is a driver based in the southern Senegalese city, Ziguinchor.  He says he and his fellow transporters did not want to go the much longer way around Gambia, through Senegal’s eastern Tambacounda, but felt they had no choice.

Sadio says he has never been arrested but has had colleagues who have been thrown in jail.  He says, if a Senegalese driver gets into a traffic accident in Gambia, that driver will most likely be blamed and put in jail, whether or not he has insurance.

Other drivers report having extra taxes and fees levied on them at one of Gambia’s many checkpoints, further antagonizing the long-standing rift between the two countries.

The countries were both part of the medieval Wolof empire before colonial powers France and England divvied them up, giving Senegal to the French and tiny Gambia to the British.

Sadio says Gambians think the Senegalese are their enemies, but that is not the case.  He says they are all brothers and sisters.

Mediation by Senegal’s government seems to have resolved the situation for now, although for how long is uncertain.  Sadio says this has been a problem since he began professional driving, nearly two decades ago.

Sadio says the situation seems to be improving since the blockade was lifted and he is hopeful it stays that way.

Truckers are far from the only ones with complaints of harassment in Gambia.  Journalists and opposition members are often targets of Gambian police.  Human rights groups say rights violations have become a fact of life under President Yaya Jammeh, who has ruled the country since 1994 and says his re-election later this year is a “foregone conclusion.”





You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid