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Country Reports
GAMBIA, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


The Gambia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997. So far, it has not ratified the legislation although ratification is in process, according to government officials.[1] Gambia participated in just one of the meetings of the Ottawa Process, did not endorse the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration, and did not attend the treaty negotiations. However, it voted in favor of the 1996 UN General Assembly resolution calling for an international agreement banning AP mines. Gambia is not known to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines. The government states that the Gambia possesses no stockpile of landmines, and objects to media reports in the Senegalese press stating otherwise. [2]

Gambia is one of the Africa’s smallest states, and except for the Atlantic on the west is surrounded by Senegal. In 1982, Gambia merged with Senegal to form a confederation, Senegambia, but relations deteriorated and Senegambia was dissolved in 1989. No landmine incidents have been recorded on Gambian territory but Gambia’s security situation has almost certainly been occasionally compromised by its proximity to Senegal’s southern province of Casamance, where conflict between separatists and the Senegalese armed forces has led to the widespread use of AP and AT mines (see Senegal report).[3]

Senegalese diplomats suspected that Gambian territory was being used as a rearbase by rebel elements in 1992, shortly before landmines made their appearance in Casamance.[4] However, more recently, Gambian offers to mediate in the conflict have been welcomed by Senegalese representatives, suggesting a decrease in Senegalese anxiety on this point.[5]


[1]LM Researcher, telephone interview with Fatou Jallow, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Banjul, 30 March 1999.


[3]Alex Vines and Barbarcar Diagne, “Senegal: old mines, new wars,” African Topics, no. 22, January-March 1998, p.13; Andrew Manley, “Guinea Bissau/Senegal: war, civil war and the Casamance question,” Writenet/Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, pp.14-16.

[4]See Guinea Bissau and Senegal reports.

[5]“Senegal: Gambia to mediate?”, West Africa, (London), no. 4180, 12-18 January 1999, p. 7.