Casamance Conflict


Casamance (Portuguese: Casamança) is the area of Senegal south of the Gambia including the Casamance River. It consists of Basse Casamance (Baixa Casamança Lower Casamance) (Ziguinchor Region) and Haute Casamance (Alta Casamança Upper Casamance) (Kolda and Sédhiou Regions). The largest city of Casamance is Ziguinchor. Though the Jola are the dominant ethnic group in the Casamance, they represent only 4% of the total population of Senegal. The Wolof dominate the nation as a whole. The Jola’s sense of economic disenfranchisement within greater Senegalcontributed to the founding of a separatist movement advocating the independence or autonomy of the Casamance, the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), in 1982. The MFDC’s armed wing was established in 1985, and since 1990, the Casamance Conflict, a low-level insurgency led by the MFDC against the Senegalese Government that has been characterized by sporadic violence and frequent but unstable ceasefire agreements. An illegal shipment of weapons hailing from Iran was seized in Lagos, Nigeria in October 2010, and the Senegalese government suspected the MFDC of having been the intended recipients of the weapons. Senegal recalled its ambassador to Tehran over the incident.