Senegalese peace broker bishop dies

2010-08-25 20:00

Ziguinchor - Maixent Coly, a Senegalese bishop dedicated to restoring peace in the violence-prone Casamance province, has died of heart problems, a member of his diocese said on Wednesday. He was 61.

Coly died on Tuesday evening at Principal hospital in Dakar, after suffering a heart attack.

A bishop since 1993 in Ziguinchor, the main city in the southern region of Casamance, Coly supervised three peace accords signed in 2001, 2002 and 2003 between the Senegalese government and insurgents from the separatist Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces.

A low-level conflict has crippled growth in the poor agricultural and tourist enclave, which is almost completely cut off from the north of Senegal by the Gambia.

Since the end of last year, violent clashes between the army and insurgents have multiplied, threatening to overturn another peace agreement signed in 2004.