Tuesday, May 27, 2008

1 person killed, 1 wounded

1 person killed, 1 wounded Another attack on cashew harvesters in SenegalArmed men opened fire on a group of villagers as they tried to harvest cashew nuts Thursday in southern Senegal, killing one person and wounding another, authorities said. The attack came two weeks after a group of armed men rounded up about 20 villagers in the area and sliced off their left ears with machetes in a warning to leave the cashew trees alone. Cashew nuts, one of the restive Casamance region's more lucrative crops, are regularly harvested by villagers, bandits and rebel fighters struggling to survive in the bush.The villagers were attacked Thursday morning outside the village of Baraka-Bounao, near the country's border with Guinea-Bissau, said Lucien Gomis, president of the rural department that includes the village. Police confirmed the incident. Military officials said the villagers went out to harvest without asking for a military escort, as officials have recommended. "Our people in the zone were alerted by the sound of shooting," Lt. Malamine Camara, a regional spokesman, said. Camara said the shooters had left by the time his men got to the site.It was unclear if any organized group was behind the attack. Victims of the previous attack had said their assailants claimed to be rebel fighters with the Movement of the Democratic Forces, which has waged a low-level insurgency against Senegal's government since 1983. The group denied any involvement in the attack.Casamance, separated from the rest of Senegal by Gambia, has been plagued by sporadic violence for years as rebels fought for independence and against each other. The region also is sown with land mines, and bandits regularly attack vehicles on its roads. More than 1,200 people have been killed in more than two decades of fighting in the region.Source: iht.com

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