Presidential Envoy Killed in Casamance

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A presidential peace envoy to the violence-torn Senegalese region of Casamance was shot dead on Thursday, in what appeared to be a repeat of the slaying of an official last year.

Samsedine Dino Nema Aidara, named by President Abdoulaye Wade as a peace negotiator earlier this year, was gunned down in his family home in the village of Mahmouda Cherife, close to the border with Gambia, state news agency APS reported on Friday.

The rebel Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) has been fighting since 1982 for greater autonomy for the mainly-Christian southern region of Senegal, which they say has been neglected by the Muslim-led government in Dakar.

Hundreds of people have been killed, often by landmines, during the near three decades old insurgency, but in recent years the level of violence has declined and the intractable revolt has gradually drifted off Senegal’s political radar.

The death of the rebellion’s historic leader, Catholic priest Augustin Diamacoune Senghor, in Paris in January deprived the government of a moderate interlocutor in the rebel ranks.

Many Senegalese were shocked last year by the murder of Omar Lamine Badji, head of the council of the regional capital Ziguinchor, whose throat was slashed by heavily-armed assailants in his home.

Wade had offered $100,000, a passport and an airline ticket to find the killers. (Reporting by Daniel Flynn, Editing by Matthew Jones).

Author: Reuters
Source: The Point