The ‘Casamance Question’: An Examination of the Legitimacy of Self-Determination in Southern Senegal 1 LAWRENCE S. WOOCHER * Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa 1. Introduction The conflict in the Casamance has taken a serious toll on the region, the state of Senegal, and all of West Africa. Three months ago, a news agency’s lead para- graph of a story on the conflict made this bleak assessment: ‘Eighteen years of civil war in Casamance has turned Senegal’s most beautiful region, endowed with abundant natural resources, into the most dogged sanctuary of separatists in the West African sub-region.’ 2 While the strife has never rivaled conflicts in other African countries like Sierra Leone or the Sudan in terms of violence or size, the conflict in the Casamance seems especially resistant to resolution. Violence continues to flare up intermittently, as it has since 1982, despite a num- ber of cease fires and repeated efforts at a negotiated settlement. Over this peri- od, at least one thousand people have lost their lives and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes. 3 In addition, human rights groups including 341 International Journal on Minority and
International Journal on Minority and Group Rights – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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