Thirteen youths killed in Senegal

A woman walking in Casamance: the region used to be a touristic destination A woman walking in Casamance: the region used to be a touristic destination AFP

9 January 2018
Thirteen teenagers have been killed by armed men while collecting wood in the Senegalese region of Casamance.

On January 6 at least 15 armed men  attacked a group of teenagers in the Casamance region,  the southern part of Senegal. The youths were collecting wood in the Bayotte forest, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Zinguinchor, the largest  town of Casamance, when they have been assaulted. Two youths managed to escape, but seven were  injured, and the other thirteen have been shot or decapitated. It is not clear who carried out the attack and why.

Casamance region is separated from the capital city Dakar by the Gambia river. The area used to be a popular tourist destination until it was  ravaged by a long-running civil war between the government and the Movement for Democratic Forces in Casamance (MFDC), a rebel group seeking independence. The conflict started in 1982, killing thousands among the civilian population. Since 2014, an agreed ceasefire has reduced the level of violence in the region but tensions are thought to still be high.

According to the Senegalese military, the area has been calm for several years, they argued there were no warning signs of the attack. It is thought the assault could be connected to the recent liberation of two MFDC members. Their release from custody happened due to negotiations between the army and rebels launched by the charity Community of Saint Egidio, which is specialises in peace mediation.


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