Diamacoune Senghor

Augustin Diamacoune Senghor

Father Augustin Diamacoune Senghor (4 April 1928 at Senghalène, Casamance, Senegal13 January 2007 at Val-de-Grâce Military Hospital, Paris, France).

Father Senghor was a charismatic, Roman Catholic priest and a leading figure in the Casamance independence movement (see Casamance Conflict) from Senegal. He served as director of the Saint-Louis of Ziguinchor Seminary (Séminaire Saint-Louis de Ziguinchor) from 1972 until 1975.

After spending five years in a Senegalese prison, Senghor became the leader of the Movement of Democratic Forces in Casamance (MFDC), Casamance's main rebel movement. The rebel group gained a reputation for sometimes violent atrocities against the government and civilians.

Senghor signed a peace agreement with the government of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade in 2004. However, several factions of the MFDC refused to participate in the peace deal and continued their fighting. This division has deeply divided Casamance's independence movement.

Analysts say that the death of Father Senghor may make reaching a permanent peace deal in Casamance much more difficult. The Senegalese government will need to find a new head of the rebel and separatist movement to negotiate with in Senghor's place. However, this will not be easy as the separatist movement has splintered into rival factions since the 2004 peace agreement. Incidents of violence has also increased in 2006. In late December 2006, the president of the Ziguinchor regional council was assassinated. The Senegalese government blamed Casamance's rebels.

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