Human Rights

Senegal: 100s flee rebel incursion

About 600 villagers in the Southern Senegalese region of Casamance have fled their villages after rebels suspected to be from the secessionist MFDC group descended on them, according to reports late Wednesday.
The fleeing villagers told local authorities in neighbouring Guinea Bissau where they sought refuge that their attackers struck last Friday night, looting food supplies and burning homes to force them to leave, reported the AFP.
Djin Alen, the deputy prefect of Begene in north-eastern Guinea-Bissau, told AFP that 69 families, a total of 579 people, had arrived in his village since last Friday.
“They say they were forced to leave their villages by rebels” from the MFDC, AFP quoted Alen.
The families, according to Alen, came from three villages near the southwest Senegalese town of Sedhiou.
One of the displaced, Malam Sadio, told AFP that the rebels entered their village on the night of Friday to Saturday and asked them to leave. He said they ‘‘threatening us with their weapons.”
Deputy Prefect Djin Alen described the manner of arrival of the refugees as total mess. ‘‘Some of them have been taken in by friends and relatives, but most of them are just gathered in the village square waiting for help from humanitarian organizations,” he told AFP. He added that the authorities would move the displaced people to safe areas away from the border when they had the resources to do so.
According to the AFP report, the Bissau Guinean Red Cross, the national commission for displaced people from Casamance and local authorities met last Tuesday in Begene to assess the situation.
The Casamance war started since 1982, and there have been uneasy peace accords now and again between rebels and government.

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