eople are leaving the Kombos for the provinces and out of The Gambia

For the past two weeks, people are leaving the Kombos for the provinces and out of The Gambia by every modern means of transport available in the country, by land, sea and air.

While the majority of Gambians are going to the provinces, non-Gambians are going back to their countries in fear, as the political impasse following incumbent president Yahya Jammeh’s rejection of the result of the 1st December presidential election continues.

Officials of Bundung garage, the main garage that connects the Kombos to the countryside through the South Bank, said the number of vehicles that leave from the garage with passengers has increased by more than 500 per cent.

Jabel Choi, public relations officer of Bundung Car Park Association, said for the past two weeks, the number of vehicles to Basse, Soma, Bansang, Brikamaba, and Farafenni from the garage has increased from barely 2 in a day to more than 15 vehicles of 22 and 30 passengers, daily.

He said vehicles now start to leave from the garage as early as 5a.m. whereas in normal times before the impasse, the first vehicle from the garage would leave at around 10a.m.

Because the journey is prompt, some parents send their families unprepared; not even with enough fare.

The vice president of Bundung garage association, Malick Lowe, said often times people come with their families, and they do not have even enough fare for all.  For example, a family that can take five seats would only have enough fare for three or four.

One of the drivers at the garage said some passengers would load all the belongings they are travelling with, before begging for a reduction in the fare to enable them pay for all the seats they are to occupy.

“We have no option, but to allow them because we know their trip was prompt,” the tall dark driver said.

Before the political impasse began, most of the people used to travel to places like Soma, Basse, and Brikamaba from the Kombos by bus, because it is cheaper than the other commercial vehicles.

But officials at the Bundung garage said, at the moment, even the commercial buses have enough passengers to fill them, talk less of the GTSC buses.

Indeed, the demand on the buses has increased tremendously. A staff of the bus company, Gambia Transport Services Company, said even if they have additional buses on the South Bank, they would not be able to satisfy the demand of people leaving the Kombos.

While those travelling along the South Bank from the Kombos are going by bus, those going through the North Bank are crossing the river.

Traffic from the Banjul end of the Banjul-Barra ferry-crossing point has increased dramatically.  The passenger traffic is similar to what used to obtain in the build-up to feasts like Tobaski (Feast of Sacrifice), when a lot of people in the Kombos cross to go spend the religious feast with their provincial families.

The traffic out of The Gambia has also increased phenomenally.

The Gambia has a large number of citizens of Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry, in addition to those from Senegal.  But most of them are going back for the first time is many years.

The number of vehicles at the Guinea garage can hardly serve the people leaving the country.  The same is true for the Senegalese.

Momodou Jallow, a Guinea Conakry resident who was travelling with his wife and three children, said he has been living in The Gambia for the past ten years, during which he has never gone to Conakry.

Morr Dem, a Senegalese, said: “It is not my wish to close my shop and go, but I have to because my life is more important to me.”

But not only the Senegalese are going to Senegal. Even Gambians are going there for safety.

“My husband has sent in money for me and our two children and his mother and one sister to go to Dakar,” Tida said.

She has no relative in Senegal, but her husband in Germany said they should take an apartment and stay there (in Senegal) until the situation in Banjul is resolved.

Foreign staff of international organisations, companies and embassies are booking tickets and flying out of The Gambia.

The US Department of State has ordered foreign staff and family members of the embassy in Banjul to leave The Gambia.

It is understood that other embassies in the country have issued similar orders.

The Chinese owner of a restaurant in Senegambia has ordered the restaurant to cease operations on 15 January, when he is travelling to America.

“When the boss was travelling, he told us that the restaurant would close on the 15th until when the situation is normal,” said Lamin Joof, an employee of the restaurant.

The Gambia is one of Africa’s smallest countries and, unlike many of its West African neighbours, it has enjoyed long spells of stability since independence in 1965.

However, following President Jammeh’s rejection of the result of the 1st December presidential election, the security situation in the country remains uncertain.

Since then, fully armed soldiers and paramilitaries are deployed in town and they have put sandbags at strategic places in preparation for a possible backlash.

The government has begun taking restrictive measures, including shutting down radio stations.

Meanwhile, the government has issued a press release reassuring the public that The Gambia remains “peaceful and stable”.

Analysts said people are living in a state of fear, because Gambians are not used to such heavy security presence in the public, and the ongoing political rhetoric is adding to the situation.

Author: Lamin Jahateh

  1. Mr Khan AKA Unbiased Prince GB

    I knew it was coming but not this good.

    A leaked letter from The Attorney General Chambers, has confirmed that the five Nigerian judges who were recently appointed while due and are anticipated to sit over the APRC and their outgoing party leader ‘Yahya Jammeh’s election petition would no longer be traveling to Banjul as expected.

    The acting chief justice further informed Gambia’s Chief Justice Fangbele that, the dates of the court sittings in the Gambia are unfavourable to them as would greatly affect their case management. He therefore urged Fangbele to stick to the sittings for May and November as scheduled.

    The source at The AG Chambers has also confirmed to us that, the said letter had already been received by Justice Minister Mama Singhateh. But she has still not discussed its content with the outgoing dictator.

    Meanwhile, sources had added that the remaining Nigerian judges who have been handling cases at the lower courts have all left the country and headed back to Nigerian..The Chief Justice is said to be the only Nigerian judge left in the country and has not been punctual at work recently.

    By Fatunetwork

  2. Mr Khan AKA Unbiased Prince GB

    By Alhagie Jobe
    Nigerian President Muhammadou Buhari who is also the chief mediator in Gambia’s political impasse will lead another delegation comprising three presidents to Banjul on Wednesday, January 11th,  in what ECOWAS called ‘a final effort at resolution’, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama has confirmed after the Nigeria meeting.
    The meeting hosted on Monday in Abuja by Nigerian President Buhari on the Gambia situation was attended by Senegal’s Macky Sall, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ghana’s former President John Mahama who is also a co-mediator and ECOWAS Commission President Marcel de Souza.
    In his twitter feed after the meeting, the Nigerian chief diplomat said the Gambia mediation meeting is now over adding President Buahri will lead a delegation to discuss with President Jammeh on Wednesday, January 11th, in a final effort of the resolution.
    “Leaders concerned about deteriorating Gambia situation especially closure of media organizations, arrests and looming refugee situation. The Gambia political crisis will be resolved in manner that conforms to the Constitution and respects the people’s will” Foreign Minister Onyeama said.
    The ECOWAS bloc said last month it would take all necessary steps to uphold the result of a December 1st election in The Gambia, where incumbent President Yahya Jammeh says he will not step down after losing to opposition coalition Adama Barrow.
    Jammeh initially accepted his loss in the December 1st election, but a week later changed his mind, saying the electoral commission had been biased by “foreign influences” and vowing to hang on despite regional and international condemnation. ECOWAS has since placed standby forces on alert in case Mr Jammeh attempts to stay in power after his mandate ends on January 19th.
    Mr Jammeh called the bloc’s stance “a declaration of war”, and said he will defend himself. He said ECOWAS has no right to interfere in Gambia’s internal affairs, and that Gambians should await the outcome of a legal challenge that his APRC party has lodged at the Supreme Court.
    Meanwhile, Mr Jammeh’s hopes at the Supreme Court has been dashed away as the five Nigerian judges who were recently appointed and expected to sit over his APRC party election petition are no longer traveling to Banjul as expected.
    A leak letter from the Nigerian acting Chief Justice Onnoghen sent to the Gambia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice reveals that justices are usually scheduled to sit in Gambia’s Supreme Court in the months of May and November.
    “Based on this long established understanding, our court sitting schedule is usually drawn up with the consideration of this assignment. The dates of the court sittings in the Gambia are unfavorable and will greatly affect our case management” the letter from the acting Nigerian Chief Justice Onnoghen says.

  3. anonymous

    Traitors behave just like how Sheriff Bojang and others do.

    Yahya expect that many of their tribesmen will abandon you, but remain steadfast and reaffirm your position “backward never forward ever. God is ever powerful and Inshallah they will all regret their acts. As the wollof saying goes “Sosseh du sosal ken” they are devillish and only want to see your downfall but they will never live to see that. Note that with their treacherous plans in their defections none will ever survive to see your downfall. It is now clear to you that with all what they were saying in niceties and praise singing they were undermining you just to see your downfall but God the all knowing and everpowerful is and will continue to.protect you from their evil machination. INSHALLAH.


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