Senegal signs peace agreement with part of Casamance rebels

Senegal signed on August 4, 2022 in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau “peace agreement” With certain groups of the Casamance rebel movement vowing to lay down their arms and work for the final return of peace to this region in the south of the country, between Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.

Casamance was a Portuguese monarchy for centuries before it was ceded to the French colonial empire in 1888, and then incorporated into Senegal at the time of its independence in 1960. The scene of one of the oldest active African revolutions.

This agreement was signed by rebel leader César Otot Badiat, head of the important southern unit of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance, and envoy of Senegalese President Macky Sall, in his capacity as President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

“I entered the Marquis when I was ten years old. Today, I am 50 years old. I think that is enough now. (…) How many people have died, maimed or left their village? We will accompany you in the search for peace”the President of Guinea-Bissau Umaru Sissoko Embalo announced, addressing the rebel leader Casamance. “I can assure you that we will be the guarantors of this agreement.”Followed by the current president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The Movement for Democratic Forces for Change has been weakened in recent years by the fall of friendly regimes in The Gambia and Guinea Bissau, two countries that served as its rear base. The Senegalese army has also intensified its operations against rebel bases since February 2022, with some success.

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Rebel leader Atot Badyati, ill and sentenced to life in prison for assassination and armed rebellion, was pushed to sign an agreement attended by some of the region’s specialists. “surrender”. this last no It will not necessarily be followed by the other components of MFDC. Like the Salif Sadio armed group, today the most combative on the Gambian frontier, which has not signed the secret document at the moment. It is not known, for example, whether rebel leader Autut Bedet negotiated an amnesty for him and his relatives.

Feet Maki Sal “a final peace” Casamance is one of the priorities of his second term. The Senegalese president hopes to revive himself, by announcing the possibility in Casamance, after 40 years of conflict that has caused several thousand deaths.

“I remain committed to consolidating lasting peace in Casamance”President Macky Sall tweeted that “Greetings” Agreement and thanked his counterpart Umaru Sissoko Impalo on his mediation.

In an interview with French-language TV5, researcher Jean-Claude Marot pointed out that “Senegal needs to redeploy its armed forces in the face of the rise of jihadists on its borders, while the Casamance conflict mobilizes a third of its forces.”

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