By Lamin E. Fatty, Mamos Tv, Gambia
Members of the Cross-Border Association, a community based organisation, comprising of hundreds of individuals , mostly women of the border communities of Darsilameh, Marakissa, Manduar, Dimbaya, Trankil, Doululu, etc, today handed over a petition to the Senegalese government through Governor Yusupha Faye of the Commune Kataba (1) in the Southern Region of Casamance for onward delivery.
The women were demanding for the facilitation of a peaceful and united border community through government support and solidarity to reduce the suspicions and frequent conflict that sometimes arise between the said communities of The Gambia – Senegal border.
The handing over of the petition was preceded by a procession of a march past from the main square of Doululu Town led by the Mayor, Mr Ablie Badjie who was there to show solidarity with the organisation.
The petition was officially handed to the governor at his office by Mariama Cham, amidst singing solidarity songs calling for the end to hostilities. The women demanded the opening of a new chapter for the border women who claimed to have suffered a lot from the artificial border demarcation of the region by colonial powers. They also decried the troubles of the decade long rebellion in the region by the MFDC rebel movement, demanding for an independent Casamance Region.
Speaking at the occasion, the public relations officer (PRO) of the organisation, Mrs Musukebba Jarju of Dasilameh village, appealed to the government of Senegal to work in unison with their Gambian counterparts to facilitate peaceful co-existence and enhance a productive socio-economic development for the women of the border areas. “We have endured enough from the conflicts that we do not start and we do not need war anymore,’’ Mrs Jarju said.
She said the women and their children are always the first victims of conflicts and as a result, they are calling on the two governments especially the Senegalese government to put in every available strategy to avert any further conflict.
“We are very far from a standard health post and providing one will greatly help us minimise the suffering we encounter during pregnancy and delivery period,’’ the women leader stated. She also advised the Senegalese government to provide the border communities with a Lumo (local market) along the border, which she said will help to facilitate friendliness and solidarity as well as boost the economic sector within the border communities.
Speaking earlier, Mrs Astou Jatta, a member of the organisation, said helping the women of the said communities will be a catalyst to the overall strategic integration of the two countries as envisaged by the protocol of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the free movement of people and goods.
In response to the demands of the women, Governor Yusupha Faye said he is delighted to welcome the organisation and thanked them for their civility and determination in ensuring that the people of Sene-Gambia live in harmony and become innovative and change makers for the betterment of the two countries. “I can assure you that your demands are in line with the visions of the Senegalese government and the Gambian government respectively and I will be happy to be part of the movement to make sure that this dream becomes a reality,’’ Governor Faye said.
He assured the women of his support and solidarity at all times, saying helping the women is a recipe for rapid socio-economic advancement.
The event was witnessed by representatives of local authorities from both The Gambia and Senegal.