SENEGAL

Rebels kill six government soldiers, military says

Six Senegalese soldiers have been killed in a rebel attack carried out by members of the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC), a former independence group, according to Senegalese military sources.

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AFP - Six Senegalese soldiers have been killed in an attack apparently carried out by rebels from the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC), a former independence group, military sources said Saturday.

"Yesterday (Friday) ... a Senegalese army patrol returning to its base was attacked by armed elements supposedly belonging to the MFDC. There were six dead, four wounded and two missing," the source told AFP.

The attack, one of the most deadly in recent years, took place in the southern Casamance region about 120 kilometres (70 miles) east of the regional capital Ziguinchor.

Earlier this month, public officials in Casamance called for the reopening of talks between the Dakar government and the former rebels following the killing of a government soldier in an attack blamed on the MFDC.

The last talks between the Senegalese government and the MFDC, an ex-independence movement started in 1982 which waged a long battle against Dakar, were in February 2005, following a peace accord in December 2004.

But violence has again flared in the Casamance region, separated geographically from the rest of Senegal to the north by Gambia.

On August 21, a military official reported several clashes between the army and ex-rebels in Casamance.

Suspected MFDC members have also been blamed for killing three civilians in attacks on vehicles in the region in August and this week.

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