By Kemo Cham
Fighting between Senegalese forces and suspected rebels of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) claimed the lives of two from the government side, according to various reports early Tuesday.
The clashes, which reportedly occurred last Monday, also resulted in the injury of two more Senegalese soldiers.
“During that incident with an armed group we lost two soldiers and two others were injured,” Senegal’s army spokesman Ousmane Sar, was quoted by Reuters.
The incident is reported to have taken place at a popular tourist area, around a village called Baraf, when a Senegalese army patrol team bumped into the suspected MFDC rebels.
AFP quoted an anonymous source in the Senegalese military as saying that fighting erupted in the afternoon of Monday “around 17H30 (GMT); we fought back an attack by armed groups on one of our positions in the Diabir area (on the outskirts of the regional capital Ziguinchor).”
The official said, “We deplore the loss of two soldiers and we have three injured,” and he added, “I cannot tell you what we are planning to do, but we are on the ground.”
Students flee their campus
Seneweb, a US based Senegalese online news site, reported that frequent clashes between the two sides have been a source of constant panic among students at the University of Ziguinchor, which is said to be located on the frontline.
‘‘A few months ago, a rocket landed in the office of Chief of the Department of Geography, causing extensive material damage,’’ the paper reported.
The Southern based Senegalese rebel group accuses mainland Senegal of neglecting the region. But they have now mainly engaged in hit and run tactics, as part of their low-level insurgency over the past two or more decades demanding independence.
A number of peace deals have been reached recently, raising hope among the local people who are mostly affected by the unrest, only for fighting to resurge.
By Kemo Cham