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Last Updated: Monday, 15 January 2007, 12:02 GMT
Senegal rebel leader priest dies
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade (L) meets Casamance separatist leader Father Diamacoune Senghor
Father Diamacoune Senghor (r) signed a peace deal in 2004
Father Augustin Diamacoune Senghor, leader of Senegal's separatist rebels has died in a Paris hospital, aged 78.

He was a founder member of the Movement of Democratic Casamance Forces (MFDC), which campaigns for the independence of Senegal's southern region.

The Catholic priest signed a peace deal to end 20 years of low-level conflict in 2004 but some MFDC factions are still active in the region.

He was twice imprisoned for his rebel activities - in 1982 and 1990.

The latest clashes have been near the Gambian border, with passengers vehicles held up by armed robbers.

A senior local politician was also killed last month, which some blame on renegade MFDC fighters.

However, security has improved around the main Casamance tourist beach resort of Cap Skirring and there has been a recent increase in visitor numbers.

Casamance is cut off from northern Senegal by The Gambia and the MFDC said the French colonisers did not administer it as part of Senegal.

This was denied by the French.


SEE ALSO
Thousands flee Senegal fighting
24 Aug 06 |  Africa
Crowds cheer Senegal peace deal
30 Dec 04 |  Africa
Country profile: Senegal
09 Nov 04 |  Country profiles

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