Senegal said it’s waiting for a regional delegation to help resolve a truck drivers’ boycott of Gambia which is entering its ninth week, starving its smaller neighbor of customs fees.
Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye told reporters Saturday that a mission from the Economic Community of West African States will mediate in the dispute after Gambia lodged a complaint with the body, known as Ecowas, earlier this month. Senegalese truckers’ unions announced the boycott in February, following Gambia’s decision to increase tariffs at its two main ferry crossings to 400,000 CFA francs ($685) per truck.
“We’re waiting for the mission [Ecowas] is going to send so that we can give our position on the issue,” Ndiaye said in the capital, Dakar. His comments mark the first time the government has commented publicly on the dispute.
Senegal surrounds Gambia on three sides, with Gambia cutting a wedge through Senegal from the Atlantic Ocean to the interior. Trucks carrying goods for Senegal’s southern Casamance region no longer pass through Gambia by ferry but prefer to take a national highway around the country.