A suspected timber trafficker was on Thursday shot by foreign troops deployed in Sibanor. He became unconscious due to the gunshot wounds he sustained during the incident. He was later hospitalized. Sibanor is located in Foni Bintang-Karenai, on the West Coast Region of The Gambia.
A Gambian law enforcement source said the truck driver, was not engaged in timber smuggling as alleged. He said the driver had secured his timber legally and had permit to proof it. But notwithstanding, he said, the driver, came under attack as soon as he reached Sibanor. He was confronted by foreign troops deployed in that part of The Gambia. The troops claimed that they have been given orders by the host government, The Gambia and the Senegalese government to confiscate timber logs being transported from the southern province of Casamance.
It is not clear whether the troops in Sibanor were part of the ECOMIG contingent deployed to The Gambia. Freedom Newspaper contacted the ECOMIG Spokesman Michael Larbi for comment on Sunday and this is what he had to say: “In respect of your request, I think there is a misconception about ECOMIG deployment therefore the Force Headquarters intends to issue an official statement tomorrow to clarify matters and this will aid your story.”
“Please note that ECOMIG has no troops deployed at Sibanor – Bwiam general area. The Senegalese Contingent there are deployed as part of the Bilateral Relations Agreement between The Gambia and Senegal. These troops are not part of ECOMIG therefore they operate under a separate mandate based on the agreement between the two countries and NOT under the ECOWAS/ECOMIG mandate. This is for your information; an official statement will be in post tomorrow,” Larbi added.