â€œThe rumour that I travelled with Salif Sadio, to Kanilai and that my government facilitated his travel in order for him to escape justice, is baseless and has no iota of truth. I will never support a rebel or any rebel group, because I want peace to prevail and above all, the answer to Africaâ€™s many problems is peace. My government spends millions on the fishing industry and yet about 99 per cent of those who utilize those facilities are Senegalese. If I were not interested in the development of the two countries, that will not happenâ€said Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh yesterday when the Senegalese army chief of staff General Abdoulaye Fall called at him at the State House in Banjul.
Mr.Jammeh who shares the same tribe with the rebel fugitive says he had no hands in Salif Sadio’s escape and therefore assured the Senegalese governments and its people that the Gambia will never be a party that would aid and abet rebels to destabilize that former French colony. Mr.Jammeh who deplored the deteriorating security situation in Casamance also denounces violence in the strongest terms. For so many years the, Gambian leader had been linked to supporting Casamance rebels. Senegal at some point asked the Gambia to stay away from rebel peace talks which were being spear headed by the Jammeh administration.
This followed reports that the government was harboring MFDC spokesman Alexandra Gibba. Mr.Gibba was lodged at a five star hotel called the Atlantic Hotel for a period of two years. While in the Gambia, he openly attacked the Wade government in the local press. He later relocated to Bakau, where he stayed up to the time of his deportation from the country by the government. The government took such a move with objective of clearing its name over allegations of supporting MFDC rebels. Continuing his address, the Gambian leader said his government would never wish bad things against Senegal.
â€œ I will never pray evil for Senegal. It is very important for us to be sincere and honest. The Gambia, harbors no grievances against Senegal and anybody who breaches the law there and comes here will be duly arrested and handed over to the appropriate authorities. I will be happy to see what the two nations can do for each other and I wish Africa can unite so as to enjoy the fruits of the many mineral resources it is gifted with.â€Said Mr.Jammeh. In response, the Senegalese army chief General Fall says the two countries should be each brothers keepers and not otherwise.â€œ Our intention is to smoothen the brotherly relations and we hope we will all agree to sign the Memorandum of Understanding and adhere to its principles. This will go a long way in helping us consolidate the two armies by conducting joint trainings. It will also help us form the majority of the proposed ECOWAS Troop. I am of the opinion that if we work together, we will succeed in securing our nations better.â€
The Senegalese army chief’s visit to the Gambia, followed recent media reports suggesting that the rebel leader was issued with a Gambian diplomatic passport by the Gambian authorities. Reports have it that Mr.Sadio who was wounded during a bloody clash between Senegalese government troops and rebels was treated at a Gambian hospital before he proceeded to Ivory Coast to allegedly secure arms. Today, the Gambian government has denied having ties with the said rebel leader. In the recent past, the Gambian government made repeated request for the Senegalese government to hand over dissidents believed to be residing in the French speaking country, but Senegal denied harboring the former chief Defense Staff Colonel Ndure Cham and other dissidents who were accused of plotting to overthrow the Gambian government.