Senegal. In the soccer World Cup in June, Senegal's team,
the lion from Teranga, had great success and reached the
quarterfinals after beating Sweden.
On September 27, the ferry Joola went down in severe
weather as it was traveling from Ziguinchor in Casamance in
the south to Dakar. According to
Countryaah website, the relief operations started late and
only 64 people could be rescued by local fishermen. Over a
thousand people were on board, although the ferry was only
entitled to take 550 passengers. The ferry line was managed
by the fleet.
The handling of the accident was considered to be behind
President Abdoulaye Wade's decision to dismiss his entire
government in November. Madior Boyé, who had been the
country's first female prime minister, was replaced by
Idrissa Seck, one of the president's close associates.
Shortly thereafter, the commission that had been
appointed after the ferry disaster presented a report that
came with devastating criticism of how the rescue work had
been conducted. Above all, the army was criticized for
tardiness. It was also established that 1,153 people had
been killed, 200 more than previously thought.
By a referendum in 2001, a new constitution was adopted.
It cuts the presidential term from 7 to 5 years, and limits
the possibility of re-election to 2 consecutive periods;
parliamentarians leaving their party at the same time lose
their place in parliament; and finally, the President can
dissolve the National Assembly without supporting this step
in the Assembly itself. A few days after the new
constitution was adopted, Wade declared that he would
dissolve the National Assembly in early April, and a new
election should be held in April. In this election, the Wade
faith parties gathered in the "Sopi" (change) coalition
gained an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly. At
the head of the coalition stands the liberal PDS. In May,
Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye presented her new
government. She is the first female prime minister in the
In September 2001, Wade declared himself willing to
extradite Hissene Habré, Chad's former president who is
charged with war crimes. The condition of extradition is
that a third country declares itself willing to accept him
and conduct a fair trial. Human rights groups accuse Habré
of being guilty of 40,000 executions and the torture of
200,000 during his 1982-90 presidential term.
In November, Jean-Marie Francois Biagui resigned as
Secretary General of the MFDC. As a reason, he indicated the
members' lack of loyalty. Biagui had been appointed in
August ifbm. a congress in which the movement had tried to
bridge the internal divide in order to continue the peace
talks. Still, the continued internal tensions hindered the
formation of a common front. A number of factions never
accepted Biagui, but maintained their loyalty to Diamacoune.
In 2003, MFDC founder Sidy Badji died in his family's
home in Ziguinchor, a few days before peace talks between
the rebels and the government began. The same year, MFDC
leader Jean-Marie Francois Biagui declared to hundreds of
rebel delegates in Ziguinchor that the war of attrition was
on hold. Both sides of the conflict were all set to end the
over 20 years of violence. However, the MFDC's armed branch
did not attend the meeting and according to it. In a variety
of sources, peace will only be possible when the strongest
factions are really aligned. In April 2004, MFDC rebels
carried out an ambush in the southern part of the country.
It cost 3 soldiers life and 5 were wounded. That same month,
Macky Sall took over the Prime Minister's post ifbm. a
In September 2004, MFDC's historical leader Augustine
Diamacoune Senghor was replaced by Jean-Marie Francois
In October, cholera broke out in Dakar after the country
had been free of the disease for eight years. Over two
weeks, 66 cases were reported while the epidemic subsided in
Guinea and Sierra Leone, where it is believed to have
entered the country. That same month, the government
obtained the necessary funding to electrify the Louga region
in northwestern Senegal. It is part of a larger project to
electrify the country's rural areas.
After 20 years of civil war in Casamancia - the
longest-lasting internal conflict in West Africa, which cost
3,500 killed and tens of thousands of displaced people - the
government and the MFDC signed a final peace agreement in
Opposition leader Abdourahim Agne was arrested in May
2005, accused of calling for a riot during an otherwise
peaceful demonstration against President Wade. Agne can be
sentenced to 5 years in prison.
A faction of the MFDC that did not recognize the signed
peace agreement of December 2004 in June 2005 directed new
attacks against government forces in Casamancia.