Following clashes between Senegalese soldiers and separatists near the Gambian border, over 6,000 people have fled their homes in The Gambia and Senegal.
The figures were released on Tuesday by the Gambia’s National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA). The Senegalese military launched an operation against separatist rebels in the West African country’s southern Casamance region, which borders Gambia, on March 13.
Fighting forced 691 people in Casamance to flee to Gambia, a tiny country of about 2 million people almost completely encircled by Senegal, according to the NDMA’s assessment of the aftermath.
After Senegalese bullets landed in border villages, a further 5,626 people were displaced within the Gambia. Households that are hosting the affected people require humanitarian assistance, according to the statement.
Since 1982, the Casamance separatist movement has thrived on perceived marginalization of the region wedged between The Gambia to the north and Guinea-Bissau to the south.
It has been largely dormant since the 2014 ceasefire. However, it has continued to fund itself through timber trafficking between Senegal and Gambia, and it has launched sporadic attacks.
When fighting erupted again in January of this year, two Senegalese soldiers were killed.