Yaya Jammeh had a dream of recreating the ancient Kingdom of Kaabu, covering Foni, parts of Casamance and Guinea Bissau. Hence his links with the MFDC and elements within the goverment of Guinea Bissau. His current strategy is to create a “new state within a state” of The Fonis, centered around Kanilai as it’s capital.
Supported by a strong and violent elements in the Fonis, and the MFDC his strategy is (a) to put pressure on the Barrow government to remove ECOMIG forces (b) to create an independent State which I have called the Republic of Foni. This would be a pure Jola government underpinned by MFDC rebels in Casamance and headed by Yaya himself.
Such an outcome would mean that the South Bank of the Gambia River would be cut out of Gambia and become a foreign State from which he could wage war in both Casmance and The Gambia. Senegal could never tolerate such a situation, but without the agreement of the Barrow government would be in an impossible position. Gambia could survive, but all traffic would have to go via the North Bank or by air/river at constant threat of attack. This is a clear and current threat!
This situation need never have arisen had the coalition refused to negotiate with Yaya and allowed ECOMIG forces to attack and capture or better kill him. It is reported that they had 7000 troops, a warship and war planes but Yaya exploited the Gambian weakness of being afraid of violence and seeking peace at any price. The only way to deal with a snake terrorizing your house is to cut off the head! Gambia will never know peace so long as Yaya is alive on the face of this earth. You cannot send a man who is unwilling to die against a man who is willing to kill. Yaya and his diehards are determined to succeed in their plan or die trying. Recent events in Foni prove this point. As pointed out by Mai Fatty, they deliberately walked towards professional armed Senegalese troops armed with traditional weapons forcing them to fire. What choice did the the troops have? Run away? Stand and be chopped by cutlasses? Which fool thinks otherwise? It’s the same mentality that kept Yaya in power for all those years. Bai Koh, Yalla Bahna….(Leave them, God is good…)
The choices are very clear. Give Yaya what he wants or allow Senegalese troops (not ECOMIG) to go in and clean out the Fonis and destroy Jammeh’s fortress of Kanilai. Together they represent terminal cancer of the stomach to Gambia, requiring urgent surgery if the patient is to survive. The past 23 years and especially the elections have proved that Yaya can neither be negotiated with or trusted to keep a deal. On leaving he told his people that “I’ll be back!”. He has always done what he said, or tried to get his way. He’s doing it again! Can we never learn?
The problem is neither Yaya nor Senegal, nor the residents of Foni. It is the Gambian mentality, peace at any price. The Gambian security forces are too weak and divided to undertake this task. ECOMIG forces are limited by protocols and their individual national governments. Only the Senegalese have the weapons, training and above all the motivation to deal with this problem. To them it’s up close and personal! As in January, and before, their hands are tied by Gambians. It’s madness…
The best opportunity was missed after Yaya refused to hand over power in January. All that was necessary was to order all residents of Kanilai to leave and bomb his home there. Yaya’s heart is Kanilai. Destroy it, with his Jalang and he will surrender, if not die. Sometimes it is necessary for one evil man to die so that others may live in peace. Both the Koran and Bible sanction this type of killing. It would be a judicial killing not murder. Instead innocent people in the Fonis are stepping on land mines and being killed. How many more have to die unnecessarily?
The primary responsibility of any government is the safety and protection of it’s people. The Barrow government seem to be very lax in this area and the blood of any more people killed in or by people of the Fonis should be on their hands. Power brings responsibility, not just a ride on the gravy train.
Mai Fatty has the right attitude and desire to do the job, but his government has neither the ability nor willpower to do the job. We are looking at a withdrawal of the Fonis from the Republic of the Gambia at the instigation of Yaya Jammeh from exile. If not stopped now, Gambia could bleed to a slow death over many years through an unwinnable civil war. It is not too late, but Barrow has shown himself too weak to allow Senegal to do the job. Gambia is more than one man, and if he cannot do the job, please appoint a VP and give him a free hand. Mai Fatty could be that man, although I don’t know him. If not get someone who can. When Neville Chamberlain failed in his negotiations for peace with Hitler and the 2nd World War was on hand he said “Give the job to Winston Churchill, he understands how to wage war”. History proved him right. Mr Barrow, please do the right thing. Appoint the right man since you obviously are incapable.
Thanks for space Pa.