The interstate transportation dispute between The Gambian motorists and the Senegalese transport union, has taken a new twist with the Senegalese transport unionists denying one of the buses of The Gambia National Transport Corporation from crossing the Amdalai/ Karang border, Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The Gambian bus was held for hours in Karang on Sunday, before it was finally allowed to cross to its destined destination Dakar.

The Senegalese transport unionists, and the Senegalese Gendarmerie insisted that the bus wouldn’t be allowed to proceed to Dakar. The Senegalese claimed that The Gambian government was only allowed to use one bus per day to transport travelers to Dakar. The second Gambian bus was stopped and asked to return to Banjul upon arrival in Karang.

Gambian Passengers spent the whole day in Karang under the burning hot son. The Senegalese Ambassador to The Gambia had to intervene to facilitate the denied bus to be allowed to proceed with its set journey, sources said.

On Monday, Gambia’s Works and Transport Minister Bai Lamin Jobe convened a press conference in Banjul to shed light on an interstate transportation agreement The Gambian government reached with the Senegalese government. The agreement was signed back in 2018.

According to Jobe, with the new interstate transportation agreement, both governments can use its buses to transport passengers between the two countries. He also said private commercial drivers and bus owners would also be allowed to transport passengers.

Interstate licenses had been issued to Gambian transporters. However, the Senegalese transport unionists do not respect the bilateral transportation agreement reached by the two governments. They said they wouldn’t allow Gambian motorists to cross the border to transport passengers from the other side of the border. They are of the view that the agreement signed by the two states is going to adversely affect their transportation business.

The Gambian government is apparently waiting on the government in Dakar to give them a formal clearance before they could allow private Gambian motorists, who are licensed to transport passengers from Banjul. The Gambian government was initially allowed to use three buses on a given day to transport passengers from Banjul to Dakar, but it has been reduced one bus. Senegalese transport unionists said they wouldn’t allow more than one bus to cross the border from Banjul to Dakar.

It should be noted that two licensed transporters Dodou Jobe, and Omar Thorpe, a Senegalese appeared on the Freedom Radio Gambia prime time Leral show to complain about the mistreatment they suffered in the hands of the Senegalese transporters.

Jobe’s newly acquired bus was denied entry into Senegal. The bus was stopped upon arrival in Karang and forced to return to Banjul. Jobe had to refund his passengers their paid money. He had already collected the sum of D48,000 dalasis from his passengers. One of his passengers was sick and he needed an immediate medical treatment in Dakar, but his bus wouldn’t be allowed to proceed despite repeated pleas.

Jobe is a Gambian businessman. He relocated to Senegal during dictator Jammeh’s rule to set up a Real Estate Company in the French speaking nation. Jobe was jailed by Jammeh on bogus charges before he decided to leave the country for his own safety. He was accusing of selling a house to the late Baba Kajali Jobe   Jobe was a close associate of dictator Jammeh.

Upon the change of government, Jobe decided to invest in Gambia’s transportation sector. He bought a new bus; hoping that he could provide employment opportunities for his people. He had in mind to attract other investors to join him in his new business venture, but according to Jobe, the investors he wanted to work with had given up because of the hostile treatment transport owners suffer in the hands of Senegalese transporters.

Omar Thorpe is a licensed transporter in The Gambia. He owns fifteen passenger vans. Thorpe said his vans were also stopped in Karang. He had to protest to the Senegalese transporters and Gendarmerie to allow his vans to cross. Thorpe’s transportation business had been slowed due to the dispute at the border. He has called on both governments to find a lasting resolution to the interstate transportation dispute.

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