An army spokesman and a witness said that Senegal’s army carried out operations and bombings in Casamance (South) on Sunday, one of the oldest active African revolts.
Explosions from apparently south of Casamance’s main city of Jiguinchor were heard in neighboring Guinea-Bissau.
“Around 3:00 pm (local and GMT) we heard very loud explosions near the Senegal border. We fired at regular intervals until 7:00 am, ”said Quecuto Dajoura, an AFP correspondent, a notable one from São Domingos, a city in Guinea-Bissau, about twenty kilometers away.
Senegal media said the bombings targeted targets of rebel leader Cesar Atote Badiet, who was the head of one of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) factions.
The army spokesman did not provide details. “Operations are going on. The goal is to create conditions for the population to return to their homes, ”he said in a message to AFP, referring to many people displaced by decades of conflict.
Lire aussi: Ousmane Sonko, l’opposant dont l’arrestation enflamme le Sénégal
Casamance has been the scene of an insurgency since separatists took to the bush with underdeveloped weapons following the suppression of an MFDC march in December 1982. The rebellion flourished on the uniqueness of this fertile but largely isolated region. From Senegal to The Gambia and a sense of neglect prone to one.
After killing thousands and devastating the economy, the conflict continues slowly, with heat waves like the massacre of 14 men near Jiguinchor in January 2018.
In recent years, Senegal officials have begun to resettle the displaced. In late January, the army began operations against rebel positions, it said, ending these returns and smuggling flourishing in wood or cannabis. It is also a question of ending abuses against civilians, according to him.
After coming to power in 2012, President Mackie Sayle resumed negotiations to resolve the conflict. But they did not lead to a final settlement, complicated by divisions within the MFDC. Representatives of the Senegal state and the rebellion met in Cape Verde in April.