Senegal. In April, President Abdoulaye Wade dismissed
Prime Minister Idrissa Seck, who was replaced by former
Interior Minister Macky Sall. This sparked speculation that
Seck had created such a strong base of power that Wade felt
CountryAAH, the total population in Senegal is 16,743,938 people in 2020.
Journalist Madiambal Diagne from the privately owned
newspaper Le Quotidien was arrested on July 9 accused of
publishing secret documents and news which, according to
authorities, "could cause serious political problems". Three
days later, most independent mass media organized a day-long
protest against the arrest, as no private newspapers were
published and private radio stations were silenced. Diagne
was released in late July.
Senegal was reported from the summer to have suffered the
most severe grasshopper attacks in 15 years. Particularly
severe was the northern part of the country.
A change of power occurred in September within the
separatist movement MFDC (Mouvement des Forces Démocratiques
de la Casamance), which is fighting for independence in the
south. Former Secretary-General Jean-Marie François Biagui
was unanimously appointed MFDC's new leader after Augustin
Diamacoune Senghor, the pastor. The latter joined and
founded the organization in the early 1980s. Senghor signed
a peace agreement with the Wade government in 2001, which
led to the MFDC being split. The new leader Biagui was seen
as someone who could unite the various factions. Some have
threatened to take up arms again, while Biagui was among
those who advocated a negotiation solution with the Dakar
Parliament voted in December to abolish the death
penalty. Four convicted prisoners had their sentences
converted to prison sentences. However, no execution had
been carried out since 1967.
At the end of the year, the government concluded a new
peace deal with MFDC's founder, Diamacoune Senghor. Special
surveillance commissions would monitor the parties'
observance of the ceasefire and that a disarmament of the
rebels really took place. Otherwise, few details of the
contents of the agreement were known. Several of the rebel
movement's factions were said to have opposed the
settlement, but it was uncertain what influence they had.
Over 3,500 people have been killed in the conflict, which
has been going on since 1982. If the new agreement would
bring peace to the fertile region, both the government and
several donors were expected to provide financial support
for the reconstruction of Casamance.