Rabat – In response to reports in the Senegalese press accusing the Mauritanian government of causing distress in a Senegalese village by suddenly closing the border with Senegal, Mauritanian authorities have issued a statement denying the allegations, slamming the reports as incomplete and sensationalist narratives.
Yesterday, the Senegalese daily? Les Echos ?relayed that Mauritanian authorities had closed borders with Senegal in the Morphil region of Senegal.?
According to the report, dozens of villagers in the Senegalese locality were denied free movement to attend their farming and fishing activities on the Mauritanian side of the 700 km border between the two countries.?
Les Echos quoted Senegalese villagers complained that police patrols limited villagers’ movements and prevented them from tending to their daily businesses. “Meanwhile, Mauritanians are free to enter Senegal,” one of the villagers fumed.?
However, the Mauritanian government said in a statement that the decision was wrongly relayed in the Senegalese press, as it only concerned the closure of risky and unofficial transit points between the two countries.?
The statement noted that while there are 35 official passage points at the border between the two countries, some fishermen and farmers continued using “unauthorized” entry points.?
“Only irregular and unauthorized entry points [in Mauritania] have been closed,” the statement read. It added that Mauritanian police seized fishing and other materials only as a “necessary” and “temporary” move to ensure that concerned villagers were not involved in illegal traffic.?
“Official transit points remain open and citizens can freely go about their activities,” the statement noted, further explaining that the decision aimed to guarantee security in a notoriously insecure zone and that it had been discussed with the relevant Senegalese counterparts prior to implementation.