The northwestern, southwestern and southeastern fronts of the Movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) have committed to fully cooperate with the Senegalese health authorities as well as humanitarian organisations to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement dated April 16, 2020, the rebel forces called on their combatants not to initiate military operations, to comply with the Geneva conventions, to facilitate emergency operations as well as to comply with and enforce the guidelines of health authorities.

Their statement responds to the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire on March 23, which was followed by the Southern Cameroons Defence Forces (SOCADEF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

The Casamance separatist forces have been in conflict with the government of Senegal since 1983. While various peace processes continue to engage with the Northern and Southern fronts of the movement and the government of Senegal via the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, a final political solution to the conflict has yet to be found.

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue encourages the parties to seize the opportunity presented by this gesture of goodwill to accelerate the negotiation processes and end the oldest conflict in Africa.