Senegal army bombs rebel positions

2012-01-11 07:40

Ziguinchor - Senegal's military on Tuesday bombed rebel positions in the troubled southern Casamance region after a string of attacks by suspected separatists, a military source said.

Armed men, presumed separatist rebels, hijacked motorists and burned a truck near the village of Baila, some 40km from the regional capital Ziguinchor, a witness told AFP.

The men, believed to be members of the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC) then entered Baila, stealing food products such as rice and oil.

"We want to protect the civilian population. The situation is under control with aircraft that are doing a good job while avoiding maximum damages," a security source said, confirming bombs had been dropped on rebel positions.

The MFDC has been fighting for independence since 1982 in the region, which is separated from the rest of Senegal by Gambia in West Africa's longest-running conflict.

The violence has surged in recent weeks with dozens of civilians, rebels and soldiers dead or missing since November.

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