By Diana Rose Wairumbi, AFP
An arrest has been issued for three Gambian men suspected of murdering a forest guard in Senegal’s southern region of Casamance, a Gambian police spokesperson told AFP on Tuesday.
Gambian police and Senegalese authorities said Moustapha Gueye, a guard at Niaming forest on the Senegalese side of the border, was last week killed in a village in a region popular with tourists but where illegal cross-border logging of Casamance timber has caused tension.
“The police have arrested Ali Gai, Assan Sallah and Abdoulie Boye following the death of a Senegalese forest guard,” David Kujabie police spokesperson said, adding police at Bansang in the Central River Region were investigating.
“The incident happened in Keur Yorro in Casamance in Southern Senegal. The three guys were found logging in the forest and he confronted them,” Kujabie added.
The latest killing follows the cold-blooded massacre in January of 14 loggers in the Casamance’s Bayotte forest, which has protected status on the border with Guinea-Bissau.
A total of 24 suspects, including a local reporter, were arrested and currently remain in detention.
The bloodbath which came at a controversial time for peace talks for Casamance that caused some to blame a group that has led a more than 35-year armed campaign for the region’s independence.
The separatist group itself blames a fight within an illegal logging trade it says is run by corrupt officials.
Senegalese authorities say the massacre was carried out by villagers that have rebel support