|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Portuguese Wikipedia. (December 2011)|
|Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance|
|Commanders and leaders|
|President Abdou Diouf (1982–2000)
President Abdoulaye Wade (2000–2012)
President Macky Sall (2012–present)
|Augustin Diamacoune Senghor (until 2007)|
|N/A||estimated at a few hundred to a few thousand|
|Casualties and losses|
|5,000 killed in total since 1982|
|This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
The Casamance Conflict is a low-level civil war that has been waged between the Government of Senegal and the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) since 1982 over the question of independence for the Casamance region.
According to legend, Senegal’s first president, Leopold Senghor, made a promise to Casamance’s leaders before independence from France in 1960 that if they joined Senegal for 20 years they would have their own independence afterwards . When the government did not follow through on the promise in 1980, street demonstrations in the Casamance capital, Ziguinchor, turned violent.
The height of popularity of the MFDC followed what human rights groups have said was brutal repression against demonstrators calling on officials to make good on Senghor’s promise.
The Casamance region is mostly inhabited by the Jola people who have a long tradition of independence movements. The MFDC had organised peaceful independence demonstrations. In 1982 the organisation's leaders were arrested, sparking a vicious circle of increased resistance and Senegalese Army clampdowns.
In 1990, the MFDC began reprisals by attacking military buildings in the region, with alleged covert support from the Bissau-Guinean Army. The Senegalese Army in turn attacked MFDC bases in Basse Casamance and Guinea-Bissau, but both sides were also accused of attacking non-combatants.
Several ceasefires were agreed during the 1990s, but none lasted, and the conflict hit European headlines when four French tourists disappeared, both sides blaming each other. Father Augustin Diamacoune Senghor had come to lead the MFDC and pursued a policy of talks and reconciliation. However, the Senegalese government refused to consider independence for the region, leading some MFDC members to split and restart the fighting.
Another ceasefire was signed in 1997, but about 500 people were reported dead in battles up until March 2001, when Senghor and Abdoulaye Wade, the President of Senegal, agreed to a peace deal. This allowed for the release of prisoners, the return of refugees and clearance of land mines but did not bring autonomy. Some in the MFDC regarded this as a betrayal, and the movement split with two factions battling each other.
Since the split, low-level fighting has continued in the region. Another round of negotiations took place in 2005. Its results were, however, proved partial and armed clashes between MFDC factions and the army continued in 2006, prompting thousands of civilians to flee across the border to The Gambia. Father Senghor died in January 2007.
In October 2010, an illegal shipment of arms from Iran was seized in Lagos, Nigeria. The Senegalese government suspected that the arms were destined for the Casamance, and recalled its ambassador to Tehran over the matter. Heavy fighting occurred in December 2010 when about 100 MDFC fighters attempted to take Bignona south of the Gambian border supported by heavy weapons, such as mortars and machine guns. They were repulsed with several casualties by Senegalese soldiers who suffered seven dead in the engagement.
Recent developments 
On December 21, 2011, Senegal media reported that 12 soldiers were killed in Senegal's Casamance region following a separatist rebel attack on an army base near the town of Bignona. Three more soldiers were killed in an attack the Senegalese government blamed on separatists in the region on February 14, 2012. The attacks continued into March as four soldiers were killed and eight others injured in two separate incidents on the 11th and 23rd.
On April 5, 2012, newly sworn-in President Macky Sall said that ensuring peace in the south would be a top priority for his administration in his first public speech since taking office. He also expressed confidence that the leaders of Gambia and Guinea-Bissau can be involved in the efforts to find a solution to the long-running conflict.
- "Déterminée à en finir avec la rébellion casamançaise : L’Armée sort la grosse artillerie". Lequotidien.sn. 2011-03-03. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Senegal to sign Casamance accord", BBC News, December 30, 2004
- "Senegal: Attacks in Casamance despite peace move", IRIN, December 5, 2006
- BBC News. December 15, 2010. December 15, 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11998752
- "Senegalese army sweeps Casamance after fight with separatists | RFI". Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- 12 Soldiers killed as violence in Senegal continues. SABC. December 21, 2011. http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/e0c16e804980f20b85999f63aa8ce1bf/12-Soldiers-killed-as-violence-in-Senegal-continues-20111221
- "Senegalese troops 'killed in attack'". Al Jazeera. February 14, 2012.
- "Soldier Killed, Four Wounded In Senegal Rebel Attack". Jollof News. March 23, 2012.
- "Senegal: Macky Sall says peace in Casamance is top priority". Afrique Jet. April 5, 2012.
Further reading 
- Fall, Aïssatou (2011). Understanding The Casamance Conflict: A Background. KAIPTC Monograph No. 7.