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Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 09:21 GMT
Ambush in Casamance

By Chris Simpson in Dakar

Two civilians have been killed in the Casamance region of Senegal.

According to reports from Casamance an armed gang stopped the group of lorry drivers near the town of Marona shooting two of them dead and burning two trucks.

The killings are being blamed on a dissident wing of the separatist movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance, the MFDC.

The MFDCs leadership has condemned the attack but appears to have little control over military hardliners.

Only recently the government announced an international arrest warrant for a high ranking rebel dissident believed to have been involved in recent violence.

Response

The Senegalese Government says it wants to see a peaceful solution to the problems in Casamance but has warned of a strong response to further military provocation.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade
President Wade is seeking peace for Casamance
Cut off from the rest of Senegal by the Gambia, Casamance is still caught up in a 20 year old civil war whose origins go back well into the colonial era.

Like his predecessors Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade has devoted considerable time and energy to the problems in Casamance.

Greviances

Mr Wade has worked hard to consolidate a dialogue with the MFDC which has lobbied and fought for a separate state in the south.

Mr Wade has made it clear that separatism is not an option but that there are also legitimate grievances which need to be addressed.

The MFDC leader Adde Diamacoune Senghor has repeatedly committed himself to peace while toning down the separatist rhetoric.

Mr Diamacoune's problem is that he cannot carry all of his movement with him.

The MDFC now appears to be badly split with one of Mr Diamacoune's rivals Salif Sadio emerging with his own power base intent on continuing the armed struggle.

The government has effectively declared Salif Sadio a public enemy, issuing an international warrant for his arrest and offering the equivalent of $200,000 for this capture.

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See also:

25 Dec 00 | Africa
Six die in Casamance violence
17 Dec 00 | Africa
Senegal peace talks end abruptly
02 Apr 00 | Africa
New era for Senegal
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