Senegalese Gendarmeries & Customs Deny Involvement in Motorcyclist Death

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By Lamin Fatty

Personnel of the Gendarmerie Camp and the Customs Post in Manda, Senegal, have denied allegation of Involvement in the demise of a Gambian Motorist, a day before Koriteh.

The alleged incident occurred on the 9th of April 2024.

60-year-old Gambian Amadou Trawalleh allegedly lost his life in an alleged encounter with Senegalese Gendarmeries and Customs officers last week Tuesday. Trawalleh, believed to be in his 60s, is from Bani, Kantora District of Upper River Region.

An eyewitness said Senegalese security personnel allegedly pursued him at gun point, but the deceased did not stop until he fell in a ditch with his motorcycle.

The Senegalese customs and Gendarmerie denied the allegation leveled against them. They denied any involvement in the death of Trawalleh.

According to an eyewitness, the victim (deceased) went to the ‘Lumo’ ( the weekly market day) at the border village of Manda (also known as ‘Kalfurr)’ on Tuesday to buy some stuffs as he was preparing for the Eidul Fitr also known as ‘Koriteh’. The alleged incident happened on his way back to the Gambia when he found personnel of the Senegalese Gendarmerie, who alerted him to stop for checking, but the deceased continued his journey without stopping and this was how the Senegalese security personnel pursued him.

Sources said the deceased had documents relating to his motorcycle, but he was without a “Laisser passer” to enter Senegal. The bystanders said Trawalleh tried to escape.

“He refused to stop and decided to run away and then the Gendarmeries chased him, and pointed guns at him and threatened to shoot him. He (Amadou) lost control of his motorbike and fell in to a ditch with his motorcycle,” a source told this medium.

“What worsen the situation is that when the victim fell in to the ditch, the Gendarmeries did not allow anybody to come close to the scene to rescue the man. They did not make any effort to rescue the victim from the ditch because they said they have contacted their ‘pompier’ (fire and rescue service) and it took almost over and an hour before those people came to the scene. Personnel of the Senegalese Fire and Rescue Service removed the victim from the ditch and then took him to Medina Gunass health centre where he was pronounced dead,” another source said.

Foroyaa spoke to Mahamadou Sanyang, the Alkalo of Bani, who confirmed the incident.

Sanyang added he reported the matter to the Fatoto police station and some CID officers there later visited the scene.

This reporter contacted the spokesman for The Gambia Police Force Modou Musa Sisawo, who confirmed the incident.

“We got a report about an incident involving our Gambian brother with Senegalese security in Senegal which led to the death of our Gambian brother. Even though it happened in Senegal, but hence death is involved, we did the ‘needful’ surrounding the issue,” the Police PRO said.

The Senegalese Gendarmeries and Customs Officers in Manda denied the allegation. The reporter travelled to Manda in Senegal where the incident occurred to get firsthand information. He visited the scene and spoke to the leadership of Senegalese Customs and the Gendarmeries to hear from them.

Para Jobe, the second in Command at the Manda Customs Post (Post de Douanes Manda) denied the allegation. He said his men did not chase or pursue anyone on the day preceding Koriteh. 

“I am the one in-charge of this post from Sunday on the 7th to date because my superior and other officers have gone for the Koriteh. On Tuesday, the Lummo day, I was here, but I am not aware of any incident of such and never even heard of it from anyone,” Jobe said.

Asked whether they did conduct any operation on that particular ‘Lumo’ day against a Gambian motorcyclist, he said: 

“I did the operation with the help of the police. I was alone here, I took along with me two junior police officers, who escorted me to the Lumo and we parked our vehicle at the Lumo gate. We impounded many motorcycles that bear Gambian number plates without ‘Laisser passer’, but we never chased anybody outside of the Lumo. I never even heard that such an incident occurred here,” Jobe said.

The reporter asked him about the whereabouts of those impounded Gambian motorcycles. Para Jobe said after they carried out necessary procedures, all those motorcycles were released back to their owners.

This reporter then went to the Gendarmeries’ Camp in Manda, about a kilometre away from the customs post where he spoke to General Diouf, the commanding officer (Chef de Gendarmeries du post Manda), who said a boy came to their camp and informed them that one motorcyclist fell into a ditch and that was the time he (General Diouf) led a team to the scene and they found the man lying in the ditch with a motorcycle.

“We ordered that no one should touch him until ‘service de pompier’ (fire and rescue service) comes. We contacted them to come. The victim was not able to sit by himself. When they came, we also called an ambulance and the moment the “pompier” took him out, we placed him in the ambulance and I wrote a short note so that he can be quickly attended to by the medics. He was taken directly to Madina Gunass Health Centre,” General Diouf explained.

The reporter asked him how long it took before ‘service de pompier’ arrived at the scene, General Diouf said it took time before they arrived.

“Even though it took time before ‘service de pompier’ arrived, we still insisted that nobody should touch him because that is part of our procedures,” General Diouf responded.

General Diouf provided the reporter with the document they obtained from the health facility after the victim was pronounced dead. He allowed the reporter to take a photo of the document.