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Gambians flee as Senegal launches attack against rebels in Casamance

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Dozens of Gambians have fled border regions since Sunday as Senegal launched an offensive against separatist rebels from Casamance.

Since 1982 that the rebels are engaged in a low-intensity conflict that has claimed thousands of lives. Gambian president Adama Barrow has promised help to the displaced.

"If you can come back you will not find us here because we are going to find another safety place, because here also is not safe. Here and Karrol, is the same place, only one village between. So you know that noise, that noise you can find you at Karrol, maybe he can find you here. So if you know that, it is going to be hard, like these days, we are going to run away again", said Tuti Jammeh, a Gambian IDP from the village of Karrol.

The number of displaced is unclear. A local resident claims that at least one hundred people entered his village. 

The Red Cross is already present in the field and is assessing the situation.

"We are doing an assessment to meet with the people, the IDPs, the refugees, that are within the hotline, within the mainlines, to register them. Also put them into the government data collection in order for government to be able to know the number of people. But now that the conflict is between the border lines, we expect more people, because this is the first time now that we are receiving villagers from Senegal to The Gambia", said Sheriffo Mboge, regional officer of The Gambia Red Cross Society.

Senegalese President Macky Sall has made achieving "definitive peace" in Casamance a priority of his second term in office.

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