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Senegal: ICRC aids people displaced by fighting

31-03-2006 News Release 06/14

The ICRC has come to the aid of people affected by fighting that erupted in Senegal's southern Casamance region along the border with Guinea-Bissau following tensions within the Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance as well as action by the armed forces of Guinea-Bissau.

The clashes have displaced as many as 7,000 civilians on both sides of the border. Though most of the people driven from their homes are being looked after by relatives and friends, some 700 – half of them children – are living in a makeshift camp on the Senegalese side. The ICRC facilitated their transport to the camp in order to get them away from the fighting. Given the tense situation, they are unlikely to return home in the foreseeable future.

Working closely with the Senegalese Red Cross Society, ICRC staff are supplying displaced people with food, drinking water, basic hygiene items and cooking utensils.

In a related incident, 14 people were killed and 13 seriously injured last week in a landmine explosion. The ICRC took survivors to a hospital in Casamance and is providing for their care.

Across the border, the ICRC is giving logistical support to the Red Cross Society of Guinea-Bissau in its efforts to help displaced people, though the acute risk of mines is making it difficult to reach them. The ICRC is currently assessing their needs.

The ICRC calls on all groups and all individuals to prevent suffering among the civilian population and to comply with the rules of international humanitarian law, which protect the life and the dignity of those not, or no longer, taking part in the fighting. The presence of landmines and other unexploded munitions is of great concern given the threat they pose to people living in the area.

The ICRC has been present in Senegal since 1991 with a delegation that also covers the organization's activities in Cape Verde , Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Mali and Niger.
 

    

 For further information, please contact:  

 Henry Fournier, ICRC Dakar, tel. +221 869 13 69  

 Marco Jiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17