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Senegal

Yearbook 1997

Senegal. During the year, the conflict between the government and the separatist movement Mouvement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance (MFDC) continued in the country's southern province of Casamance. According to Countryaah, thousands of people from the province in September went to neighboring Gambia for an army offensive in the area. The offensive targeted the separatists and then a wave of murders and kidnappings took place in the province.

1997 Senegal

About 180 people were detained for their supposed responsibility for the unrest. This included opposition leaders Abdoulaye Wade and Landing Savané, however, were found innocent and released in July. The government's repressive policies were condemned by humanitarian organizations, the European Parliament and the United States Congress.

Wade began negotiations with the government, which led him to join Diouf's government in March 1995. The president received clear support from the international financial institutions as he announced legislative changes aimed at promoting foreign investment and accelerating privatization.

Despite the support of Paris and Washington, the government offensives failed to penetrate the Casamance guerrillas on the defensive. Acc. some observers make the MFDC's popularity among the youth of Casamance, as well as the region's geography, impossible for Dakar to achieve a military victory. Nor did the adoption of a 1996 'regionalization' project for the country appear to be sufficient to guarantee a political solution to the conflict.

After a period of subduing the fighting, new actions by the MFDC in 1997 led to 2,500 soldiers deployed to the partisan bases near the border with Guinea-Bissau.

In March, Senegal extended its agreement with the EU for a further 4-year period. Acc. the deal gets the country nearly $ 11 million in compensation annually - a 33% increase.

In early 1998, Amnesty International criticized the "terror" in Casamance. The conflict wiped out the peasant population and ruined a region that was considered thriving before the war.

During his visit to Dakar in April 1998, US President Bill Clinton proposed the formation of a "continental peace force" to secure peace in Africa.

The March 2000 election was won by Abdoulaye Wade, whose program was a showdown with the corruption and inefficiencies of the Socialist ruling party as well as calls for change. He particularly appealed to the youth most affected by unemployment. His victory brought an end to 40 years of one-party rule. The creation of new independent radio stations that monitored the counting of votes was an essential prerequisite for the election becoming one of the most peaceful and free in the region.

When he took office in April, Wade appointed another old opposition politician, Musfafa Niasse, to the post of prime minister. Despite the president's declaration that his government would put the resolution of the country's conflict at the top of the agenda, the same month the violence escalated in Casamance. This was due to a series of attacks by the MFDC that fought the conciliatory position among several of its leaders.

 

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