Senegal: 4 soldiers killed in the explosion of an anti-tank mine in Casamance

Four Senegalese soldiers were killed in Casamance when their vehicle hit an anti-tank mine in this region of southern Senegal in the grip of an independence rebellion, according to the army.

The incident occurred on Thursday “during a mission” in North Bignona, near the Gambian border, and also left “three injured”, indicated the Directorate of Public Relations of the Armed Forces (Dirpa) in a press release on X (formerly Twitter).

Asked by AFP, Dirpa did not provide further details on the circumstances of the accident.

For several months, the army has been carrying out security operations against rebels from the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) who are demanding the independence of this border region of Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.

Casamance is the scene of one of the oldest rebellions on the African continent since separatists took to the underground with rudimentary weapons after the repression of an MFDC march in December 1982.

After causing thousands of victims and devastating the economy, the conflict persisted slowly. The last time the Senegalese army communicated about the death of one of its soldiers was in January 2023, but military operations have continued since.

In recent years, the Senegalese authorities have undertaken to resettle the displaced after announcing the destruction of several rebel bases, particularly on the border with Guinea-Bissau.

Senegalese President Macky Sall, elected in 2012 and then re-elected in 2019, has made peace in Casamance one of his priorities.

Several peace agreements, which quickly became obsolete, were signed between the Senegalese government and rebels.

One of the last announcements was concluded in August 2022 in Bissau between the State and rebel leader César Atoute Badiate, following mediation by the Guinea-Bissau head of state Umaro Sissoco Embalo.