26 March 2001

Gambia: Refugee Camps to Be Relocated

Banjul — The UNHCR's Banjul office will soon relocate hundreds of refugees based in Arang Koli Kunda, Kitty and Siffoe refugee camps to Bambally, an island village in the North Bank Division, reliable sources told the Daily Observer .

The re-location plan, according to the sources, aimed at ensuring greater control over the said refugees who are encamped close to the Casamance region of Senegal.

The sources claimed that some of the refugees, especially the adult males, occasionally sneak into Casamance where they are believed to have been aiding combatants in the Casamance conflict.

"These camps are so close to Casamance and that is why a decision was taken to relocate them at Bambally in the interest of security, national and regional," the sources stated.

Work is already in progress at the proposed resettlement camp at Babally. 96 dwelling rooms, 16 pit latrines and some wells have been constructed. Plans are also said to be under way to provide medical facilities and refurbish the local lower basic school to educate young refugees.

Residents of Bambally are said to have welcome the idea and have promised to provide farm lands for the refugees for use as an added source of income.

UNHCR officials and divisional authorities in the North Bank recently visited Bambally to see the work being done at the new resettlement site.

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