Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Reports and Papers

Senegal: Mouvement des Forces Democratique de la Casamance

Briefing Paper
Martin Evans, December 2004

  • The little-known rebellion of the Mouvement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance (MFDC) in the south of Senegal is now in its twenty-second year, making it West Africa's longest-running civil conflict.
  • There are hopes that the current calm could herald a lasting peace but the MFDC is deeply factionalized and its guerrillas are spread over three countries (Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and The Gambia). This makes negotiations with the Senegalese government more problematic.
  • The economic reconstruction under way in the Casamance risks leaving behind hardline guerrillas who are alienated from the current peace process.
  • Understanding the origins, motivations and support structures of the guerrillas is crucial for the search for peace.
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