The Senegalese army took local and international media on Monday, June 14th, to visit five strongholds the regular military took from Casamance rebels of Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). Since May 31st, 2021, the Senegalese army has launched a significant military operation to take over rebel strongholds along the border with Guinea Bissau. This includes Ahinga, Badem, Bagam, Bounick, and Djileor, all located on the southwest edge of Casamance.
At the end of the soldiers’ guided tour, the commanders who led the military attacks on the rear bases of the MFDC talked to the press. Lieutenant-Colonel Mathieu Diogoye Sène commanded the combined arms battle group Alpha to secure sectors 51 and 53 of military zone No. 5 in Casamance. He said the 3rd infantry battalion was the centerpiece of the attacks on the MFDC positions.
“The first phase was to launch our operation from Niassya, to control the Ediouma-Basséré road. This gave us access to the Kouméré-Basséré-Kouring road that is now secured. It is a road formerly used by villagers on their way to sell their harvest to the Forest Spot of Toubacouta. That makes it a loop to Kaguitt,” the military commander revealed.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Mathieu Diogoye Sène, “the second phase of the military operation consisted of attacking MFDC rebels’ positions from Basséré. The positions of Basséré, Djiléor 1 and Djiléor 2, Eliotte, Ayingua 1 and Ayingua 2 have been conquered. Today our first goal is to take over Bougnack,” the Senegalese army commander said.
The senior commander told the media that the army seized many pieces of equipment from the rebels. “The detailed report about the items will be communicated to you (the press) later. What interests us the most are the rockets, the grenades, the landmines, and the homemade traps that we destroyed on the spot. We also destroyed farms of Indian hemp, and these conditions now enable the return of populations to their land. A landmine wounded one army officer. A comrade also sustained wounds from a gunshot,” Lt. Col. Sène informed.
Lieutenant-Colonel Clément Hubert Boukal is the commander of the Bravo combined arms tactical group. It is the backbone of the commando battalion. He reveals that the soldiers have started an offensive for scouting towards Badem as they equally secure the roads for the army logistics supply. Commander Boukal emphasizes that “These were pathways used by civilians before the rebels turned them into landmine fields. So we unearthed and destroyed 25 landmines, including ten anti-tank and 15 anti-personnel landmines,” Colonel Boukal said.
The Senegalese Commando leader continued, “We carried out this decisive phase of our mission which consisted in seizing the Bagame rebel base, 200 meters from the border with Guinea Bissau. The Bagame rebel camp is a large base made up of 15 bunkers, established in-depth and firmly defended by the rebels. After an intense battle, we forced them to surrender their stronghold and abandon many items, including anti-tank rockets and other weapons such as B10 anti-personnel landmines. The rebels also left two RPGs and five Ak47 assault rifles, and an enormous quantity of ammunition. They further abandoned some documents, a lot of logistics stuff and bicycles which they used as means to transport their products,” the Senegalese commando leader said.