Guinea Bissau “to crush Gambia”

The President of Guinea Bissau, Kumba Iala, has threatened that his country will crush Gambia, a strip of territory in neighbouring Senegal. This claim could be read as a precursor of yet another flare-up of the Casamanse question.

Kumba Iala made his threat after what the authorities of Bissau, capital of this West African country, claim to be “subversive activities” by Gambian forces against Guinea Bissau. The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, has been accused by Bissau of supporting such activities.

There has been tension in the region since the failed attempt by the ethnic Gambian, Ansumane Mane, to make a coup d’etat last year, after he had in 1999 overthrown the previous President of Guinea Bissau, Nino Vieira, who had led the PAIGCV forces in combat against the Portuguese colonial power during the colonial war (1961-1974).

Casamanse is the region in southern Senegal which runs down to the border of Guinea Bissau, the people being ethnically different from those in northern Senegal and Guinea Bissau and curiously, the territory having deposits of oil. The main city in the region is Ziguinchor, where the civilian population have been the victims of torture and extreme violence by Senegalese government forces.

Amnesty International and the Red Cross have denounced the actions of the Senegalese Armed Forces against the people of Casamance, filing reports about human rights violations, which the international community has decided to disregard.

Oil speaks louder than human rights in today’s world of the market economy despite the fact that certain nations trot the globe expounding principles of “freedom” and “democratic rights”. Being black, oil blinds.


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