31 December 2002 |

Guinea-Bissau: Internal displacement in brief

As of December 2002

 

Some 4,500 people have fled their homes near Guinea-Bissau’s northern border with Senegal as a result of fighting between Guinea-Bissau troops and Senegalese separatists in mid-March, according to humanitarian officials. Violent clashes between factions of the Senegalese rebel Movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) spilled over into Guinea-Bissau, resulting in a heavy armed response by the Guinea-Bissau army. The city of San Domingo, just inside Guinea-Bissau, is reportedly deserted – with many people fleeing across the border into Senegal, but at least 1,600 displaced within Guinea-Bissau itself. The signing of a peace agreement by the Senegalese government and MFDC rebels at the end of 2004 officially ended West Africa’s longest-running civil war, paving the way for the return of tens of thousands of IDPs in Senegal. But various obstacles have continued to hamper sustainable return and reintegration, not least the refusal of MFDC hardliner Salif Sadio to recognise the peace deal.