Senegalese soldier killed in operation against Casamance rebels

By on March 23, 2022

Source: AFP /The Senegalese army announced on Tuesday that it had “totally destroyed” several rebel bases belonging to separatists in Casamance, deploring one soldier killed and eight wounded during the military operation.

“The armies have totally destroyed or occupied rebel bases” in several regions of Casamance (south), the Ministry of Armed Forces said in a statement.

In addition to one dead and eight wounded among the military, the clashes left several dead in the rebel camp, the army said without specifying the number, and other separatists fled abandoning weapons and equipment.

“These failed criminal gangs will be hunted down to their last entrenchments, inside the national territory and everywhere else,” the statement warned.

The army announced on March 13 the launch of an operation in Casamance to dismantle the bases of Salif Sadio’s MFDC rebel faction.

The Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) has been waging a low-intensity conflict since 1982, causing several thousand deaths.

This conflict remained latent until the Senegalese army launched a major offensive against the rebels in January 2021. On 24 January, four soldiers were killed in clashes, seven others were captured and taken across the Gambian border, before being released in February.

The Gambia has recorded more than 6,000 displaced people and refugees fleeing violence between soldiers and Casamance rebels.

The Gambian government promised last week that it would not allow its territory to be “used as a launching pad or anyone entering the country with weapons and ammunition.”

Casamance rebels, accused of trafficking in timber and cannabis, have often taken refuge in Gambia or Guinea-Bissau, which also shares a border with Senegal.

Senegalese President Macky Sall has made “definitive peace” in Casamance the priority of his second term.

Casamance was a Portuguese possession for several centuries before being ceded to the French colonial empire in 1888 and then being integrated into Senegal at the time of its independence in 1960.

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