Thursday, August 30, 2012

Senegal galled by Gambia executions, recalls ambassador

Gambian president Yahya Jammeh wants to carry out all executions by the end of September. Photograph: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images
Reports say Senegal President Macky Sall who is angered by the execution of two Senegalese death row inmates by the Gambia, had asked his ambassador in Banjul to return home on Wednesday.

It is not clear whether the Senegalese ambassador had already left Banjul.

Sall’s decision followed Monday’s confirmation of the killing by firing squad of nine death row prisoners by the Gambia’s Ministry of the Interior.   

The Senegalese president had earlier threatened to expel Gambia’s ambassador Mass Axi Gai in Dakar if he refuses to attend a meeting he summoned on Tuesday. 

The Voice understands the meeting did go ahead.

Senegal today recalled its Ambassador to the Gambia, in protest against the latter’s execution of two Senegalese citizens; Kibaaro News quoted reliable sources within the Gambia’s foreign diplomatic service as saying.

The two Senegalese death row inmates executed by firing squad on Sunday are Tabara Samba (female) and Gebe Bah (male), according to a statement from Gambia’s Interior Ministry. They were serving death sentences for murder.

Kibaaro News quoted unnamed sources to have said “Senegalese Ambassador to the Gambia, Prof. Signate Diame, had expressed his government’s disapproval and disappointment at the Gambia’s execution of their two citizens to the authorities in Banjul on Tuesday, 28 August 2012.”

Another Senegalese, Saliou Niang is among 38 death row inmates waiting to be executed. Senegal say Gambia should not kill him.

Soured relations

In successive regimes, the Gambia and Senegal, two countries of the same people, have intermittently enjoyed bitter relations in the past. The two countries often accuse each other of supporting their adversaries.

There have been numerous border disputes between the two, and this latest souring of relations adds up to the status quo. 

Both countries pledged to put behind the past and forge ahead during an official visit to Gambia by president Macky Sall when he was newly elected. 

It was hoped that relations between the sister-countries would improve but with the executions taking away two lives already, it is feared that it will also take away with it the “anticipated good relations” between Gambia and Senegal.

Source: The Voice

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