Gambia rebukes Guinea for silence over Ebola grant

2014-12-05 09:08

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Banjul - Gambia rebuked Guinea on Thursday over its "bizarre attitude" to diplomacy, accusing its near neighbour of refusing to say thank you for a $500 000 donation to its Ebola response.

The government said in a statement the cash, sent in September, had been acknowledged with gratitude by Guinea's central bank while the government had remained silent.

"This bizarre attitude on the side of the government of Guinea is unfortunate and regrettable," the statement said.

"Whereas the highest authorities of Sierra Leone, another sister country that received the same timely gesture of African solidarity by President Yahya Jammeh, have acknowledged receipt of the funds with gratitude, the Guinean government is yet to do so."

Brother countries

The Ebola outbreak ravaging Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has claimed 6 070 lives, according to the latest WHO update, with health authorities in Conakry having registered more than 1 300 of them.

The Guinean minister for international co-operation, Moustapha Koutoubou Sanoh, told AFP his country would apologise to the Gambia.

"The government will not hesitate to rectify this, Guinea and the Gambia are brother countries and nothing should call this brotherhood into question," he told AFP.

The Gambia, criticised for closing its borders to people coming from Ebola-hit countries at the height of the epidemic, hasn't registered any Ebola cases.

The tiny west African nation, which is flanked on both sides by Senegal, has a chequered recent diplomatic record.

"Shameless campaign of lying"

Jammeh, who has ruled the country since 1994 and is always seen in billowing white robes, brooks no criticism, ruling the smallest country on the African mainland with an iron fist and an aura of mysticism.

In 2007 he booted out a UN envoy for questioning his cure for Aids.

Three years later, the European Union, the country's top aid donor, cancelled $27m in budget support for Banjul because of concerns over human rights and governance issues.

In August 2012, Jammeh came under fire for sending nine prisoners to the firing squad. He eventually backed down from a mass execution of the rest of those on death row.

In October last year the Gambia withdrew from the Commonwealth and then accused the United States and former colonial power Britain of leading a "shameless campaign of lying" about its human rights record.

The country has hit the headlines this year for blocking a UN investigation into torture and extrajudicial executions and severing dialogue with the EU over laws punishing "aggravated homosexuality" with life sentences.

Read more on:    un  |  who  |  yahya jammeh  |  guinea  |  gambia  |  health  |  west africa  |  ebola
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