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GTU President Confirms Police Arrested Some Drivers Amid Clashes

Images of the reported clashes between lorry drivers and PIU officers at the Senegambia Bridge on 7th September 2022

By Buba Gagigo

The Gambia Transport Union (GTU) President, Omar Ceesay has confirmed the arrest of some drivers by police following reported clashes between both sides at Senegambia Bridge, earlier Wednesday.

“A day before yesterday (Monday), they parked their vehicles and raised their concerns. The PIU came and said they should move their vehicles, they started beating them (drivers), removing their number plates and they arrested some. For now, I have informed all my drivers not to use the bridge. At the same time, I called my Senegalese counterparts to hold on at the border, until the problem is solved,” Ceesay told this medium.

The GTU President said the reported clashes followed after the drivers complained that the fee for crossing the bridge is expensive; and they parked their vehicles nearby the bridge and refused to move them after they were asked by the police to move their vehicle.  

He said last year, they had agreed with the government a reasonable cost for the crossing, but alleged that the latter failed to implement the agreement. 

“When the new cabinet came, Ebrima Sillah (Minister of Transport) called us. He said our demand was very small, and told us to renegotiate to increase the amount. We negotiated and agreed on a price.

“They wrote to the Ministry of Finance and Accountant General for implementation, but since 13th June (2022) to date, (and) they did not implement it. So the drivers said they cannot continue to pay the same amount because it’s expensive,” Omar narrated.

Ceesay told Kerr Fatou that the truck drivers involved in the clashes said they pay D80 per ton, each time they cross the Senegambia bridge, which was not what they agreed with the State.

The police spokesperson could not be reached for comments on the matter at the time of publication.

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