Senegal must not be a sanctuary for Gambian dissidents - President Jammeh
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The Gambia will not play host to any anti-Senegalese dissident, but Senegal must not also play host to dissidents that are against the Gambian government, President Yahya Jammeh told his Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall, Sunday during the latter’s one-day working visit to the country.
The Gambian leader, who was speaking at a news conference at the Coco Ocean Resort and Spa shortly after his three-hour closed-door discussion with Sall, vowed that his government is willing to “put off the fire” in Casamance, but noted that in as much as they want to do such, Dakar “must not allow the dissidents that want to set The Gambia on fire to stay there”.
“If you do, we will also not help you in Casamance because we cannot put off the fire and allow those who want to set our house on fire stay in your country. But I will help you all the way as I told you in the discussion in resolving the crisis andBillahi Wallahi Tallahi very soon you will see the results,” President Jammeh assured.
Disclosing that there are more than 750, 000 Senegalese living peacefully in The Gambia and involved in all sectors, ranging from fishing to construction, the Gambian leader recalled the adamant nature of former President Wade who refused to expel Gambian dissidents in Senegal.
“I made it very clear to Wade that he has to reciprocate as well when he gave me the authority five months ago to solve Casamance issue that – you cannot tell me to put off the fire in your house when those who want to set my house on fire and escaped are with you. I made it very clear and that is also the reality between the two countries that created the problems,” President Jammeh said.
The Gambian leader disclosed that “all coup plotters” that escaped from The Gambia are in Senegal, saying that these Gambian dissidents meet regularly in that country and make resolutions about The Gambia. He noted that all what he wanted Wade to do was to expel them and not to extradite them to The Gambia.
“We gave him [Wade] the names and addresses including their telephone numbers but he [Wade] said he is a democrat and a defender of human rights and so he cannot extradite them to The Gambia. Billahi Wallahi Tallahi, I told him [Wade] that I didn’t want you to extradite them to The Gambia, but all that I want is for you to expel them from Senegal,” he stated.
He added: “I told him according to international law – the Geneva Convention – you cannot give a dissident political asylum that is from a country that has a land border with you. I told him expel Col. Ndure Cham [the masterminder of the 2006 abortive coup] and others and the following day we will start talking to the rebels too in Casamance.”
The Gambian leader further asserted that “even ministers that steal money here escaped and go to Senegal and we told Wade where they are but there was no cooperation.”
“My fear has always been the fact that if this situation continues, Gambians who have brothers and sisters in Senegal will start hating the Senegalese which will be an unfortunate situation,” the Gambian leader added.
He was quick to disclose to President Sall that when he took over the reins of leadership, the Senegalese were the first nationals that he waived the payment of the alien certificate, while pointing out that all the roads that they have traveled from the airport, the Farafenni hospital, and major projects of his government were awarded to Senegalese companies in the spirit of the brotherly relationship despite former President Wade’s “hostile attitude” towards The Gambia.
“If I am anti-Senegal, do you think I will give them contracts? If I am anti-Senegalese, would I remove this alien tax which is a lot of money for the government?” he queried.
He added: “It came to a point whenever I go to the Gulf States, especially to the OIC [Organisation of Islamic Conference] summit, they ask me why are you supporting the Casamance rebels because we understand that you are the same tribe but I swear to them on the Quran that it is a lie and I told them that that conflict started when I was going to school. When it started I was in the third year of high school. So what is the mystery of pursuing a war that started when I was in school and that I was the one responsible? They were told that when I want to help rebels, I organise Kanilai Festival and wrestling.”
“I will never betray you”
The Gambian leader, while repeatedly swearing on the holy Quran – Billahi Wallahi Tallahi – said he will “never betray” President Sall, thus assuring him that he will work with him sincerely.
“I want you to not hesitate to ask any doubt you have in me; if I do anything you don’t like, talk to me because I will not spare you when you do something bad. If you don’t want the truth we cannot work because all what I do is between me and the Almighty Allah and I want to continue having a fruitful relationship with you and any other person. We want to assure you that in The Gambia you have honest and trusted friends in development,” he concluded, while reassuring him of is unwavering commitment to bring the decades-long civil unrest in Casamance to and end.
President Sall, for his part, sounded positive on the issue when he addressed the news conference.
He said: “I assure you that we are not going to allow anything on the Senegalese territory that will destabilise The Gambia. I am a man of my own words and assume total responsibility of whatever I said. When I commit myself into something it is because I sincerely believe in it. I will do my best but I trust you in finding a solution to Casamance problem.”
Author: by Hatab Fadera