Gambian authorities are denying reports that Senegalese forces are using the West African nation as a staging ground to launch military assaults on separatist fighters in the southern Casamance region.
Gambia’s Homeland Security Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty said he is not aware of Senegalese troops operating on Gambian soil to launching attacks against Casamance rebels.
At least 3,000 Senegalese troops are stationed in The Gambia as part of the ECOMIG force sent to oust former ruler Yahya Jammeh, who refused to cede power after suffering defeat in the elections.
Jammeh has been accused of funding the separatist fighters and having many of them staying in The Gambia. The fighters are seeking independence from the north.
Senegal’s Macky Sall and Gambia’s Adama Barrow have expressed their willingness to work together to end the low-level crisis that has been ongoing since 1982.
Senegal surrounds the Gambia on all three sides except for the West, where there is a 50 mile Atlantic coastline.
Authorities in the two nations have been clamping down on illegal timber logging and marijuana dealing used by rebel forces to finance their activities.
Senegal’s Macky Sall said the fighting have subsided since his coming to power and that although talks have been slow, there has been no exchange of fire between the rebels and the military.