Africa
Senegal

Senegal: new offensive against Casamance rebels

Senegal’s military has launched a new offensive against a faction of the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). The operation follows the death of four soldiers and the capture of seven others in fighting with the MFDC faction led by Salif Sadio, which has remained in arms in defiance of a 2014 ceasefire. A military statement said the offensive aims to “destroy all armed gangs conducting criminal activities” and “preserve the integrity of the national territory at all costs.” Casamance—the narrow southern strip of Senegalese territory sandwiched between Gambia to the north and Guinea-Bissau to the south—has seen a pro-independence insurgency since 1982, making it Africa’s longest-running conflict. Tens of thousands have been displaced, the rural economy is devastated, and large stretches of territory have become no-go zones due to landmines. (Map: PCL Map Collection)

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THE CRIMEAN CLAUSE OF THE UKRAINE QUESTION

The current Russian-Ukrainian war started eight years ago with the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which fell with hardly a shot fired, and largely without notice in the world at large. The most important thing to understand about Crimea is that it is indigenous land, and that the Crimean Tatars are its people. The Crimean Tatars overwhelmingly favor Kyiv over Moscow, but a large majority of the peninsula’s population has been Russian since 1944. Stalin’s genocidal forced relocation of the Tatars that year was carried out under a pretext of “denazification.” Under the new Russian occupation, the Tatars have again become a terrorized minority,  their language and culture again threatened by policies of Russification and “denazification.” In an analysis for CounterVortex, Kyiv-born writer and activist Yevgeny Lerner sees a foreboding historical cycle at work.

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