A sub-regional forum on cross-border crime between Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau began on Monday in Ziguinchor (southern region of Senegal) at the initiative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, in partnership with the Support Committee for Economic and Social Development (CASADES).
The two-day meeting was graced by stakeholders from The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.
Opening the forum, Ingo Baderock, the program director for the promotion of the rule of law in sub-Saharan Africa at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, said, “The geographical proximity between The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal constitutes a real opportunity for the development of crime, deforestation, poaching, sale of illicit products, trafficking in persons and goods”.
Citing the Casamance region of Senegal, Mr. Baderock pointed out cross-border crime centered on the sale of illicit products, including drugs”. According to him, “the fragility of borders is an aggravating factor in cross-border crime”.
“The legislative dissimilarities in each of the countries (Gambia, Senegal, and Guinea-Bissau), as regards legal processes for prosecuting perpetrators of cross-border crimes, are the major hitches that often limit the work of the defense and security forces”, added Ingo Baderock, who mentioned the illegal timber and rosewood trafficking from the Casamance forests.
“According to the Institute for Studies and Security, around one million trees were illegally cut and smuggled in Casamance in 2020. That’s a third of the region’s forest”, he revealed.
“This forum, therefore, aims to supplement and support the initiatives of the State of Senegal to find solutions to cross-border crime and insecurity in general”, Mr. Baderock added.
Bassa Diawara, the executive director of the Committee for support and support for economic and social development, explained that the forum will make it possible to look into the role of civil society in The Gambia, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau in reducing cross-border crime.
It will also dwell on the resilience strategies at the community level by civil society organizations and the states to reduce this scourge. He added that the discussions shall help define a common intervention framework to improve security in the cross-border areas of southern Senegambia.