Parts of the Central River Region of The Gambia are currently experiencing near communication black-out as a result of heavy windstorms that grounded the antennas of Africell and Gamcel, leaving the communities of Kaur and environs without mobile connectivity for Africell, Gamcel and Comium customers.
The Chronicle gathered the news from local residents who complained about difficulties in cell phone communication since the 29th of September, 2019 when windstorms unleashed damages on the antennas of Africell and Gamcel. They disclosed that mobile users in the entire Lower Saloum District are without any network from these three Global System for Mobile (GSM) Companies.
“Definitely, communication is a very big problem for us since last week when windstorms grounded the antennas of Africell and Gamcel. This situation is a nightmare for many of us who depend on Africell, Gamcel and Comium because we are finding it extremely difficult to get to our loved ones both near and far,” said Omar Manneh, a senior teacher at Kaur Lower Basic School.
Manneh, who visited the site of the disaster, said the windstorm has dismantled the aerial antennas of these GSM companies and leaving users of Comium offline. He said though Comium has no aerial antennas in Kaur, the company relies on the Gamcel antenna that was grounded as a result of the windstorm.
According to him, the situation has forced many mobile users in the area to buy QCell lines in order to keep the flow of communication, observing that due to the high demand of Qcell lines, its network is becoming overloaded and thus making communication traffic congested for users.
“I want to appeal to Africell, Gamcel and Comium to expedite their efforts in reinstalling their antennas because right now users are finding it very difficult to communicate. Communication is a key factor for everyone especially for the business community whose businesses are seriously affected as a result of these dilemmas,” said Hon. Sainey Jawara, sitting NAM for Lower Saloum Constituency.
Hon. Jawara said the entire region of Lower Saloum has been affected by the collapse of the antennas, noting that it has not only affected families, but businessmen and women whose livelihoods depend on communicating with suppliers and customers. He said the situation has been going on for a week and the more it is left unattended the more the people will suffer.
In another development, an Africell technician working on reinstalling the fallen antenna fell off the tower they were building and is said to have sustained serious injuries and has since been referred to Farafenni hospital by Kaur Health Center where he was initially taken.
When contacted on Saturday to shed light on the development, Musa Sise, Head of Corporate Affairs and Media Consultant, said he is not aware of the incident and promised to get back as soon as possible, but up to press time Sise couldn’t be reached by phone.