Gambia: Fuel shortage sparks anger, frustration att filling stations

Fuel dispencer19 March 2014, Banjul – The unfolding fuel shortage in Gambia on Monday sparked fury and bitterness between fuel dealers and customers at different fuel stations around the Greater Banjul Area.

This reporter visited three fuel stations, the buffer Zone fuel station, the Churchill’s town and the Jimpex fuel stations to check the situation at the fuel pumping stations. Speaking to customers at the Buffer zone fuel station, Ensa Colley, a ‘Gelehgeleh’ driver who plies within the kombos informed this reporter that he has been at the station since 6pm up till 1pm.

Mr. Colley described the situation as discriminatory, pointing out that the staff at the stations afford unequal treatment to different customers. Mr. Colley said they were told that they should join queues. He said they all joined queues, but they were eventually told to wait until some men from a particular Bank refill the tanks of their vehicles.

Mr. Colley said they were disappointed when they were later informed that the fuel was exhausted and asked to disperse from the area. Pointing to the people dispersing, he showed this reporter a group of people he said were leaving without getting any fuel.

Mbakeh Dambeleh at the same station also cited discrimination and said others were in the queues, but others sneaked and were allowed to buy fuel whilst they were left to wait endlessly in the line. Mr. Dambeleh intimated that others are paying some money behind to get fuel fast which he said clearly results in what he called ‘this bitter experience.’ In a bitter argument with a fuel seller, Mr. Dambaleh argued vehemently that he has been a customer of the station since 2009. The argument arose when a fuel vendor who is a brother to the proprietor of the station tried to explain that the station has to attend to its customers before others.

He asserted that the station has its real customers and said they deserve attention.

He finally urged the desperate crowd to be patient pointing out they would see how they would address the problem.

A taxi driver at the Churchill’s fuel station, Ebrima Bah, informed this reporter that he has visited three fuel stations and could not get fuel in any of them, adding that this is the 3rd day in his search for fuel. He expressed dissatisfaction and said he is now discouraged and does not think he could get fuel.

– Muhamad Bah, Foroyaa Newspaper

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