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Conflict continues in Senegal as election looms

Saturday, February 25, 2012 - 01:41

Feb. 25 - Senegal's southern region still in conflict 12 years after President Wade promised a resolution, as the country heads to another vote. Sophia Soo reports.

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When Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade took office, he promised to end a decades-long separatist struggle in the south, within his first 100 days in power. Twelve years have now passed, and nothing has changed. The people of Casamance are tired of the violence and are disappointed with the government. (SOUNDBITE) (French) MARKET VENDOR, BABACAR FALL, SAYING: "It's not the fighting which will put an end to this war, it's too complex. There are only two solutions. Either you set Casamance free or you rebuild it properly as a integral part of Senegal, and building massively. That can sort out the problem." Foreign travel warnings have crippled the potentially lucrative tourism industry. Leaving beach-front resorts like these empty. Ten years ago Jean-Paul Fontaine spent four million dollars building this five-star resort. He is now full of regret. (SOUNDBITE) (French) BEACH RESORT OWNER, JEAN-PAUL FONTAINE, SAYING: "If your asked me if I would make the same investment again 10 years on, the answer is: No, because I made this investment taking into account the government's promises regarding development, and a peaceful resolution to the Casamance conflict. In fact I notice that for the last 10 years we've seen a degradation of the institutions." A string of peace deals have been signed, but never implemented. As the remote south struggles into its fourth decade, few of its inhabitants expect any progress despite the polls on Sunday. Sophia Soo, Reuters.

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Conflict continues in Senegal as election looms

Saturday, February 25, 2012 - 01:41