Senegal’s Casamance hopes for new era of peace
"Neither war nor peace." That’s how residents of Casamance, a region in southern Senegal, describe the conflict that long blighted their fertile land. With the lull in violence in recent years, people are hoping the peace will last and that they can start to build a new beginning.
In 1982, protesters in the Senegalese region of Casamance took to the streets, angry at what they saw as their southern region being abandoned by the "northerners" of the capital Dakar. The separatist rebellion of Casamance was born. For more than three decades, pro-independence fighters and security forces clashed sporadically.
Today, calm seems to have returned and on the ground, the status quo prevails.
Although formal peace negotiations are dragging on, the inhabitants are already looking to the future. Many challenges remain: the fate of displaced people, the danger of landmines and a moribund economy. But initiatives to lessen the region’s isolation have been taken and there is hope for a brighter future for Senegal’s most fertile region.
FRANCE 24's correspondent Sarah Sakho went to meet the locals in this stunning coastal region, and they her about Casamance’s past... and its future.