Tourists sexually assaulted in Senegal’s Casamance region

Photo: BBC

 

A group of European tourists have been robbed and sexually assaulted while driving through the Casamance region of southern Senegal, officials say.

Armed men stopped the car as it was in the town of Diouloulou and assaulted three of the four tourists.

Earlier this month, 14 people were killed in Casamance, which has been hit by a 35-year separatist rebellion.

But security had improved in recent years and tourists had started to return to the picturesque region.

Tourism is one of Senegal’s biggest foreign-exchange earners and violent attacks on tourists are not common.

The four Europeans were being driven through Casamance near the border with The Gambia when they were stopped at an improvised road block.

They were then attacked by three men, at least one of whom was armed, according to local reports.

They also made off with 4,400 euro ($5,480; £3,850) and 315,000 CFA francs ($595; £420).

One of the tourists is currently undergoing medical examinations following the sexual assault.

The Senegalese police and army are currently looking for the perpetrators.

The attack came a day after officials announced they had arrested and charged 24 people over the deaths of 14 villagers in the town of Borofaye in Casamance.

The group had been collecting firewood when gunmen attacked on 6 January, wounding a further seven people.

Among the detainees is a member of the Movement of Democratic Forces for Casamance (MFDC), a separatist group that has been fighting for independence since 1982.

However, the MFDC has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack, instead blaming illegal loggers fighting for prized teak and rosewood.

Then, earlier this week, one of the main MFDC leaders accused the army of using the attacks as an excuse to relaunch military operations in Casamance. He warned that this could jeopardise a three-year truce.

Hundreds have died in the ongoing conflict between the MFDC and the Senegalese government, though fighting has declined in recent years following a 2014 ceasefire.

Once home to a booming tourism industry, Casamance is separated from the Senegalese capital, Dakar, by The Gambia.

Source :

BBC

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