SENEGAL: No end to region’s longest-running war

Posted by fh56 at Aug 23, 2011 08:44 AM |
Dr Martin Evans discusses renewed fighting with United Nations News Service
SENEGAL: No end to region’s longest-running war

Dr Martin Evans with Senegalese refugees who fled the fighting in Casamance.

Casamance is Senegal's southern limb, largely separated from the rest of the country by The Gambia and bordering Guinea-Bissau to the south. A separatist rebellion in Casamance, initiated by the rebel Mouvement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance (MFDC), is West Africa’s longest-running civil conflict. Popular, peaceful protest against the Senegalese administration in Casamance in 1982 and 1983 was met with state repression, driving MFDC activists towards armed insurgency. The mobilisation of the rebel guerrilla force in 1990 provoked large-scale deployment of the Senegalese army and full militarisation of the conflict. Fighting between rebel and government forces ebbed and flowed during the 1990s amid failed ceasefires and peace negotiations. The humanitarian consequences have been considerable, with an estimated 3,000-5,000 people killed and over 60,000 displaced. Insecurity and (since 1997) widespread use of landmines have caused considerable economic hardship as agriculture, fishing and tourism have suffered decline.

The situation has generally improved in recent years. However, a peace accord signed in December 2004 has not been fully implemented due to the extreme fragmentation of the MFDC, with ongoing peace talks hampered by a failure to unite all factions around a common agenda.

Episodes of violence and renewed displacement have thus continued. Dr Evans was asked by IRIN, the United Nations humanitarian news service, to comment on the most recent fighting, which began in August this year. Read the full report at IRINnews.org 

Posted 18th October 2006.

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