In the lush southern region of Casamance in Senegal, the deafening echoes of decades-old conflict still reverberate through the verdant forests and fields. However, a glimmer of hope has emerged in the form of an invitation by President Macky Sall to the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) to lay down their weapons and engage in peace talks. This call for dialogue has been met with widespread support from the international community, including neighboring country The Gambia.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall has extended an invitation to the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) to lay down their weapons and engage in peace talks. The MFDC is a separatist group that has been fighting for independence in the southern region of Casamance since 1982, leading to thousands of deaths and displacements. President Sall made the call during a visit to Ziguinchor, the capital of Casamance, on Monday, where he met with local leaders and discussed the ongoing conflict.
“I invite all those who are still holding arms to lay them down and come to the negotiating table,” Sall said. “We are ready to listen to their demands and work towards a peaceful solution to the crisis in Casamance.”
The MFDC has not yet responded to President Sall’s invitation. The group has been involved in sporadic clashes with the Senegalese military over the years, with the most recent incident occurring in October 2022 when six soldiers were killed in an ambush.
The conflict in Casamance has been ongoing for over four decades and has had a significant impact on the region’s development and security. The region is known for its fertile land and abundant natural resources, but the conflict has made it difficult for local communities to access these resources and has hindered economic growth.
President Sall’s call for peace talks is a positive step towards ending the conflict and bringing stability to Casamance. The international community has also been calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, with the United Nations expressing concern over the impact of the conflict on civilians and urging all parties to engage in dialogue.
The Gambia, which shares a border with Casamance, has also been affected by the conflict. The Gambia has served as a safe haven for Casamance separatists, leading to tensions between the two countries.
President Adama Barrow has expressed his support for President Macky Sall’s call for peace talks with the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) and a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Casamance. As a neighboring country to Senegal, The Gambia has been impacted by the conflict, which has resulted in a significant number of refugees fleeing to The Gambia for safety.