Guinea-Bissau has sent troops to its border with Senegal, Bissau-Guinean sources said, but both West African countries dismissed reports of a brewing border dispute between the two.
Separatist Senegalese rebels dart back across the porous border to bases in Guinea-Bissau after carrying out raids in the southern region of Casamance, scene of a number of attacks on the Senegalese army and other targets in recent months.
“All we are doing is securing our territory to prevent either possible incursions by foreign units or its use by those looking to disrupt order in our neighbour,” Bissau-Guinean President Malam Bacai Sanha said.
Sanha did not specify how many troops had been sent to the border but military sources said yesterday several battalions had massed there over a period of weeks.
A battalion is typically around 700 soldiers.
Both Sanha and Senegalese authorities denied media reports of a dispute over the demarcation of the border between the two countries in a region popular with tourists on the Senegal side.
“We have not changed the deployment of our forces in Casamance and I can tell you we have not sent extra troops to the border. We do not have a border problem with Guinea-Bissau,” Senegalese army spokesperson Colonel Ousmane Sar said.
Senegal and Guinea-Bissau have a history of disputes along their border, including rows over off-shore oil deposits.
Pic: Guinea Bissau troops