Gambia: Casamance The Untold Story (Part.9)

“BY AYESHA”

Historically the Casamance region has a diverse colonial heritage due to the Portuguese, French and the English control for over 200 years. The region was a Portuguese colony until 1866 when control of the territory was ceded on the British in exchange of the territory.

Portugal originally colonized the region including Guinea Bissau in the 17thcentury and subsequently gave the Casamance to France during the Congress of Berlin negotiation in 1886. The British then assumed control of the region shortly but finally ceded the region to the French. The Casamance region has since then become a French colony until Senegal attained independence on 4thof April 1960.

The Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) was formed on May 7th, 1947 by four revolutionaries; Ebrima Diallo and Edward Diallo of Kolda, Emil Badian of Bingiona and Edward Diatta of Oussouye. The main objective of the MFDC then was recognized as a party in the Senegalese independence movement.

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Readers could recall that; during the French colonial rule in Senegal only four regions were allowed to nominate/elect representatives to the French parliament and this regions were Saint Luis, Gore, Dakar and Rufisque. The deputies were; Galandou Diouf, Blaisse Diane and Lamin Gaye whom all came from these four stated regions.

‘’Leopold Sedar Senghor a prominent Senegalese scholar who was brought up by the Catholic Church was said to have supported the founding of MFDC on the understanding that the MFDC will back him up in his bid to become the leader of Senegal. It was quite obvious that Senghor will not get the backing of deputies from the four regions simply because he hails from Sine Saloum a region outside of the four regions mentioned above’’. My source, Said.

When Senghore was finally elected into the French Parliament and eventually led Senegal to Independence in April 1960. He introduced one-party rule thereby banning all other parties. MFDC became dormant and some of its founders died in mysterious circumstances.

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In 1974 when the multiparty rule was reintroduced in Senegal Lamine Kura Senghore a National Assembly deputy from Cassamance made a call in parliament for the revival of MFDC party. He also called for the Senegalese government to produce the remains of Allen Sitoiye Jatta, a female Activist of Casamance who was arrested by the French and sent to exile in Mali for resisting French influence in the Casamance region. Lamin’s call did not go down well with President Senghore and as a result, Lamin fell out with the PS party. It was later reported that Lamin spent the rest of his life in jail (Source not confirmed).

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