Solving Casamance issue through culture

© Mathieu Damman

The region of Casamance in southern Senegal has been embroiled in conflict for nearly 20 years, as separatist rebels continue to fight in the region. Senegalese authorities have now turned to culture and entertainment to alleviate the issues in the region by holding a festival in Ziguinchor.


"The festival first of all will boost Casamance but will also position Casamance and Senegal as a major cultural hub," state minister Karim Wade told RFI. Wade, the son of Senegalese President Abdulaye Wade, was representing the government at the three-day musical event that drew thousands of people from West Africa.


Organizers hope that this event will unite the people in the area and will attract tourists as well.

Meanwhile, Senegalese Minister of State for the Armed Forces has reassured rebels in the Casamance region that the government is ready to negotiate with them. Abdoulaye Baldeh is also the Mayor of Ziguinchor, the regional capital.

His statement came two days after Prime Minister Souleymane Ndeneh Ndiaye told the rebels that the government would reopen negotiations with them anywhere within the boundaries of Senegal. "We are ready to talk with the rebels, to talk about peace, to talk about development in the region, and [we are] also ready to do everything," he said.

On Sunday, a soldier was reportedly injured by rebels in Casamance, on the road between Zinguinchor and Cap Skirring. An army position was attacked early that day and returned fire.

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