A principal militant leader of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) claimed in a radio interview that he is willing to launch a discussion with Senegalese President Macky Sall on bringing about an end to the 35-year insurgency in Senegal’s southern Casamance region. For decades Casamance militants have demanded independence for the large region south of the Gambian land strip. With the fall of Gambia’s dictator Jammeh in early 2017, an important supporter of Africa’s longest-lasting insurgency was removed, increasing the chances of a peaceful solution. Meaningful negotiations between all factions are expected to unfold in the coming year, probably mediated by the Sant’Egidio religious community in Rome.  

Impact on country risk

In the past few years, the number of active combatants has been decreasing and violent confrontations between militants and soldiers have become rare. However, the presence of the MFDC in the south of Senegal does lead to illegal trade and crime while quashing tourism and the development of infrastructure in the region. Even though a negotiated settlement will take a long time to implement, it should give tourism and construction projects in Senegal a major boost.

Analyst: Louise Van Cauwenbergh, l.vancauwenbergh@credendo.com