Rebel attacks advance deeper into Senegal

Rebel attacks in the Casamance region of Senegal are moving deeper into the interior of the country. This week’s most recent violence occurred north of the regional capital of Ziguinchor.
Rebels in Senegal’s southern Casamance region appear to be growing bolder and moving farther north into the interior of the country with their increasing attacks.

Last week, rebels attacked a service station near a military camp 30-kilometers north of the regional capital Ziguinchor. Earlier this week, rebels killed two civilians in an attack 80 km northwest of Ziguinchor, VOA reports.

Pape Cheikh Diédhiou, a man who was hurt in the attack, said he was passing the service station when men in plainclothes told him to stop.

He said he was on a motorbike and when he passed the men, they shot at him. He was shot in the shoulder. He said the men were speaking both Wolof and Dioula, regional Senegalese languages.

The rebels are part of a group known as the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces. The rebels originally formed in 1982 as a separatist movement of ethnic Dioula fighting for greater autonomy from the government in Dakar.

A peace accord was signed in 2004, but rebels have recently stepped up attacks. The violence is some of the worst the region has seen since 2002.

Earlier this month, rebels ambushed a group of Senegalese military near the country’s southern border, killing six Senegalese soldiers. It was one of the deadliest attacks against Senegalese troops in recent years and came a day after gunmen killed one person and wounded three others in an attack on a taxi in the region.

More than 1000 residents have fled the area.

Last month, Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade promised to continue with peace efforts in the region. But he added he thought peace had been achieved with the 2004 accords. The rebellion is one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts.