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Karyna Gomes performs for Global Beats with Luciano Silva, Jessica Pina and Nir Paris.
Karyna Gomes performs for Global Beats with Luciano Silva, Jessica Pina and Nir Paris.

Guinea-Bissau helps Senegal hunt killers

Laeila Adjovi

BBC Africa, Dakar

A victim of an attack by armed men in the Bayotte forest lies on a hospital gurney in the regional capital Ziguinchor, southern Senegal on January 7, 2018
A victim of last Saturday's attack recovers in hospital

Senegal's army has enlisted the help of the military in neighbouring Guinea-Bissau as they continue to hunt the perpetrators of a deadly attack last weekend which left 14 dead.

The motive for the killing, in the southern Casamance region, near the two countries' border, is still a mystery.

Initially, 13 people were found dead in a forest of precious hardwoods where loggers are known to operate last Saturday.

Another body was found later, while nine people were treated in hospital for injuries.

The Senegalese chief of army staff General Cheikh Gueye told the BBC that, no matter how long it takes, the priority was to rid the area of criminals and allow people to live and work freely.

He added that Guinea-Bissau was helping in the search.

“As part of the cooperation between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau on defence and security, our zone commanders are frequently in contact along the border," he said. "Our collaboration is also effective for this particular operation.”

The attack was the most gruesome for several years. It raised fears of a revival of the separatist rebellion in Casamance.

But the separatist movement MFDC has denied any responsibility, and condemned the massacre. It linked the attack to the widespread illegal logging business in Casamance, and accused the authorities of complicity with traffickers.

Casamance is sandwiched between The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. People there often complain that their region is neglected by the Senegalese government in far-off Dakar. Separatists in Casamance have demanded independence for over 30 years.