More than 6,000 people have fled their homes in Gambia and Senegal following clashes between Senegalese soldiers and separatists near the Gambian border earlier this month, Gambia’s government said Tuesday.
The Senegalese military launched an operation on March 13 against rebels fighting for independence in the West African country’s southern Casamance region, which borders the Gambia.
Fighting pushed 691 people in Casamance to cross over and seek refuge in the Gambia, a tiny nation of around 2 million inhabitants almost surrounded by Senegal, said its National Disaster Management Agency in assessing the aftermath.
Five thousand six hundred twenty-six people were displaced within the Gambia after Senegalese bullets landed in border villages.
Households hosting the affected need humanitarian assistance, it added.
Formed in 1982, Casamance’s separatist movement has been largely dormant since a ceasefire in 2014.
But it has continued to finance itself through timber trafficking between Senegal and Gambia and launches occasional attacks.
Two Senegalese soldiers were killed when fighting last flared up in January.