MFDC denies authenticity of rebel leader's letter

Ziguinchor- Senegal (PANA) -- One of the leaders of the rebel Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), Sidy Badji, Monday denied the authenticity of a statement allegedly sent by dissident rebel Salif Sadio, whereby Sadio reaffirmed his allegiance to MFDC's honorary president, Father Diamacoune Senghor, in a leadership dispute with Badji.
In a 24 September statement sent to PANA, Badji affirmed that "despite the attempts to make authentic the hand-written statement dated 25 August and said to be written by Sadio, I hereby in my capacity as MFDC's military affairs executive, announce to the public that the statement is not an authentic one".
According to Badji, the move behind the publishing of that document is "to bring about confusion and division within the MFDC and put in jeopardy the conclusions of the last talks held in Banjul (from 5 to 10 August) in order to weaken the movement and force it into unconditional surrender".
"The aim of such manoeuvre is in keeping with the spirit of granting separate audiences to MFDC leaders: Father Diamacoune and myself".
Badji said that "Salif Sadio did not issue that statement, and it is just an open secret that he has a tense relationship with Father Diamacoune, who describes him as a criminal and a highwayman, an opportunity President Wade desperately took advantage of by lodging an international arrest warrant against him (Sadio)".
"Prior to the last talks held in Banjul in the Gambia, Father Diamacoune repeatedly affirmed that Leopold Sagna was the leader of the maquis, in lieu of Salif Sadio", he observed, adding that "Salif Sadio and Kamougue Diatta appointed delegates who have been in permanent contacts for over a year now, and their latest meeting was held on 19 and 20 September 2001".
Meanwhile, a group of armed men Saturday afternoon ambushed a seven-seat vehicle on the Ziguinchor-Cap Skirring road (located respectively at 454 and 504 km south of Dakar) near a village called Djoher (about 20 km west of Zinguinchor).
The vehicle was travelling to Ziguinchor from Cap Skirring.
The passengers were robbed of all their belongings, including money.
Two passengers reportedly lost 100,000 CFA francs (141 US dollars) and 75,000 CFA francs (105 US dollars) each, respectively, while others with less money were undressed before being released by the attackers who vanished into the bush.

25 september 2001 17:43:00

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