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Cablegate: Casamance Rebels Skirmish in the Gambia

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJL #0449 2340852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 220852Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BANJUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7743
INFO RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR PRIORITY 7359
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS BANJUL 000449

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DAKAR PLEASE PASS TO ODC, DAO, AND RAO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS PREF SG GA
SUBJECT: CASAMANCE REBELS SKIRMISH IN THE GAMBIA

1. (SBU) Post received a note verbale addressed to all
diplomatic missions in The Gambia, dated August 16, from the
Department of State (Ministry) for Foreign Affairs,
documenting two casualties (one death) from an encounter
between rival Senegalese rebel groups along the Casamance
border on July 31. The note indicates that a skirmish
occurred between the Jakai and Salif Sarjo rebels in the
vicinity of Bai Pol Village in Foni Kansala, a constituency
in the Western Division of The Gambia, resulting in civilian
casualties. This was reportedly documented by senior Gambian
officials who visited the village. One of the villagers was
hit in the arm by a bullet, while another was hit in the
chest and killed. Enclosed with the note were rather
gruesome pictures of the victims and their wounds.

2. (SBU) The note verbale also conveys to the Senegalese
authorities the GOTG's "grave concern over the incident,
particularly the loss of life," and stated that the GOTG
"will no longer tolerate such incidents."

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COMMENT
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3. (SBU) This is the first Post has heard of the reported
incident. It appears the shootings were not intentional, but
the uncharacteristic note verbale to all diplomatic missions
and gruesome photos seems to indicate the GOTG is trying to
milk the incident for international sympathy in the ongoing
Casamance dance between Senegal and The Gambia. We will
report on any further information we receive. END COMMENT
BACHMAN

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