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Sudden Violence in Senegal, Gunmen Execute 13 Youths

Sudden Violence in Senegal, Gunmen Execute 13 YouthsSudden Violence in Senegal, Gunmen Execute 13 Youths

Gunmen ordered youths to lie on the ground deep in the forest of Casamance before summarily executing 13 of them, a survivor said on Sunday following the first upsurge in violence in the isolated Senegalese region in years.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall, condemning an “armed attack of rare barbarity”, summoned his national security council and ordered a ministerial delegation to the scene, a government statement said hours after the attack on Saturday, AFP reported.

Survivor Amadou Diallo said the youths were rounded up while they were collecting wood in the Bayotte forest, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the regional capital Ziguinchor.

Two armed men stopped Diallo early in the morning, he told local radio. “They made me give them my phone and join others who were arrested before me... They got us to take off our shoes and lie down, then fired on us before withdrawing. I wasn’t hit.”

A source in Ziguinchor said that 13 youths were killed, while army spokesman Abdou Ndiaye told AFP that seven others were injured in the attack.

The Senegalese Press Agency said the assailants would have passed a buffer zone between the Senegalese army and separatist rebels of the Movement for Democratic Forces in Casamance (MFDC).

Sall “ordered that the perpetrators of this criminal act be found and brought to justice,” the government statement said, adding that the ministerial delegation would “evaluate the security situation and offer the nation’s condolences to the families”.

The rebels in Casamance began fighting for independence in December 1982 but have long ceased their frequent attacks on soldiers, who retain a visible presence in the area.

“It is too early to say whether the attackers were members of the MFDC,” Ndiaye said. “The enquiry will tell us that.”

The army deployed 150 troops to evacuate the victims and flush out the attackers, while the dead were taken to a hospital morgue.

A resident of Bourafaye Bainouk, a village near the site of the massacre, said he could hear gunfire as soldiers were sweeping the area.

Casamance, separated from the rest of Senegal by The Gambia, has been calm for several years since Sall took power in 2012, though peace talks have failed to yield a definitive settlement.

 

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