Monday, June 17, 2024

Senegalese Soldiers Reportedly Opened Fire in Kantimba in the Casamance Region

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By: Alieu Jallow

Senegalese soldiers stationed in the southern region of Cassamance reportedly opened fire in the village of Kantimba on Thursday, December 28th. According to residents, the soldiers entered their village and began firing in the open forest, causing women and children to flee for their lives.

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Last year, the Senegalese military launched an operation against the Movement of Democratic Forces of Cassamance (MFDC) in retaliation for a skirmish between the two sides a month and a half ago, resulting in four deaths and the capture of seven Senegalese soldiers serving in the ECOWAS mission in The Gambia.

Nyima Jammeh, a resident of Kantimba, stated that the soldiers entered the village, set up their machine guns and tanks, and started firing without informing the residents. “They started firing, with some shells falling in our homes, so we had to flee with our children. When my husband asked why they were firing without informing the Alkali, they continued firing nonstop, leaving the entire village smoky. I had to put my child on my back and run, leaving with some fatigue. We don’t even have anything to eat or clothing to change aside from what we ran away with,” she decried. She emphasized that they can’t afford breakfast for today, and their situation is dire.

Sunkaru Badjie, a wife to the host families, mentioned that they arrived late at night when she was about to serve dinner. She had to serve that to the children and cook another pot of food for the elderly. “We had to leave our beds for some of them, use mats and our bedsheets for others for a place for them to lay their heads. The situation at home is very dire with us here.”

Another displaced person, Fatou Bojang from Kantimba, shared, “We were on our normal business until yesterday evening when the soldiers barged into our village and started firing their tanks. Some of our people had to run naked without any clothing. We had to leave everything behind without clothes and food, and we are appealing for support in terms of feeding and clothing as we came with nothing absolutely.”

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The unfinished battle between the Senegalese army and the Movement of Democratic Forces of Cassamance (MFDC) in the southern region of Senegal seems to have resumed, as residents complained of heavy shelling in the past days. These internally displaced persons are currently lodged in the former hometown of the President in Kanilai.

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