In Senegal, “operations continue as planned”, simply indicates army personnel in Dakar, without further details after the launch of the military operation, on Sunday, March 13, in northern Casamance. Since then, very little reliable information about its progress Dr. Abdoul Latif Aïdara was an adviser to former President Abdoulaye Wade for Casamance, he is now head of the African Center for Strategic Intelligence. For him, the army’s strategy is to “take back control”, but the political alternative based on dialogue remains valid.
The main purpose of this operation, according to the Army Directorate for Information and Public Relations, is to “dismantle the bases of the MFDC faction” in SalifSadio, along the border with Gambia. The rebel leader had held Senegalese soldiers hostage after a clash in late January.
“The army considered it necessary to carry out an operation in response to an attack, but it is only to take back the initiative, to wash away the insult,” Dr. Abdoul Latif Aïdara explained at the microphone to our Dakar correspondent, Charlotte Idrac. Then again, since Salif Sadio himself spoke of negotiations during this hostage-taking, I believe that it is also, in military strategy, always a matter of carrying out ongoing operations, of introducing a balance of power in order to move towards negotiations.»
I’military operation began on Sunday, March 13, 2022 is a “security mission”, according to Dakar staff, in the northern part of this region upset by the MFDC’s independence uprising, near the border with the Gambia. It follows the clashes that took place on January 24 between Senegalese soldiers from the ECOWAS force in Gambia and combatants from the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance.
► Also read : meeting with the head of the MFDC who accuses ECOWAS of being the source of tensions
But do the negotiations remain relevant with the knowledge that they have stalled for several years now?
“The problem is what to negotiate? There are a large number of MFDCs who have already laid down their arms. On the other hand, the SalifSadio group, if you hear their speech, it is independent of Casamance or death!
And in any case, for the state of Senegal, it is not a matter of negotiating independence. If it were not for the politicians’ mission, the army would have solved this problem a long time ago. But there are Senegal’s basic political options, which are to engage in consultation; from Senghor, Abdou Diouf, Abdoulaye Wade to Macky Sall, none of the presidents chose a complete war in Casamance! … »
► Also read: in Senegal, part of the population fled the military operation in Casamance