Economic and Social Development: General Peace Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Senegal and MFDC
Clause four: Stimulation of Economic and Social Activities
1. The State encourages the ANRAC to mobilize the NGOs and bodies specialized in de-mining, together with the Army and the MFDC ex-combatants to immediately start the clearance of landmines in the Casamance in order to facilitate the resumption of economic activities.
3. The State engages to guarantee the reconstruction of the Casamance like it has been stated in the Memorandum of Understanding (Protocol agreement) concerning the technical aspects of the peace process.
It was agreed that the key to future development was removing land mines in the region. According to a UN study, 93 localities were contaminated by mines and/or unexploded ordnance, affecting 90,000 people. Numerous localities were inaccessible at the time of assessment.1
- 1. “Violence Flares Up in Casamance Again,” United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks, June 12, 2009.
In 2006, no official demining process took place. The Senegalese army demined pockets of the region on its own terms, and also cooperated with the Moroccan army to demine the Gambia and Guniea Bissau borders. Their efforts came to a halt following attacks from the MFDC.2
- 2. “Lack of Peace Accord Hampers Demining in Casamance,” United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks, May 9, 2008.
No official demining process took place.
In February – more than three years after the signing of the peace accord -- the government launched a landmine clearance program. A nine-member demining team, led by the government body CNAMS, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the NGO Handicap International (HCI), began modest demining efforts close to the Casamance capital. Three months later, it was reported that there was limited progress, due to a lack of adherence to the 2004 peace accord.3 Nevertheless, commentators identify 2008 as the year when demining activities commenced.4
Humanitarian demining efforts of the NGO Handicap International were hampered by insecurity in Casamance.5
- 5. “Confronting Aid Challenges in Volatile Casamance,” United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (Nairobi), October 19, 2009.
NGOs were engaged in demining activities.6
- 6. “Senegal: Demining Faces Slow-Down,” Humanitarian News and Analysis, July 12, 2012.
The conflict continued to limit the economic potential of the agriculturally fertile Casamance region.7 A positive sign was the handing back of land to locals after an internationally-financed operation removed landmines in the area. Sixteen villages were reopened.8
As of February, many villages remained heavily mined.9 President Wade blamed MFDC rebels, who he argued were the ones that planted landmines, and said that any demining efforts would require rebel participation.10 According to the news, demining efforts were expected to slow down. In the areas of Casamance where fighting continued, mines were reportedly being planted. In other areas, no demining efforts had been made to date.11 The Casamance Head of Mission for the NGO Handicap International, Jean-François Lepetit, estimated that 90 percent of the total mined land is yet to be cleared, most of it in northern Casamance along the Gambian border. Limited progress was nevertheless made, with six villages declared mine-free in June. International actors, such as the EU, supported such efforts financially.12
- 9. “Senegal’s Wade takes campaign to restive Casamance,” Agence France Presse, February 11, 2012.
- 10. “Wade woos voters in strife-torn Casamance,” Agence France Presse, February 11, 2012.
- 11. “Casamance Mine Removal Slows,” United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (Nairobi), July 12, 2012.
- 12. “Senegal: Demining Faces Slow-Down,” Humanitarian News and Analysis, July 12, 2012.
As of 2013, many villages remained heavily mined. No meaningful development related activities observed.
As of 2014, many villages remained heavily mined. No meaningful development related activities observed.