On the evening (local time) of Wednesday, May 2, unidentified gunmen detonated an explosive device on a bridge in the town of Nyassia (Casamance region), killing one person and wounding at least seven more. The motive of the attack, as well as the identity of the assailants, remain unknown as of Friday, May 4.
Continued insecurity is anticipated in the Casamance region in the coming weeks and months; clashes between armed groups and security forces are possible.
The US Department of State issued a travel advisory on March 30 prohibiting its personnel from traveling within Casamance region outside the cities of Ziguinchor and Cap Skirring until further notice due to security concerns in the wake of an incident involving armed robbers targeting cars in the area last week. The advisory currently in effect includes all areas west of Ziguinchor between the Casamance river and the Guinea-Bissau border.
Armed groups are known to operate in the Casamance region. Senegalese forces have had an increased presence in the area since unidentified gunmen killed 14 people in the Bayotte forest on January 6. Although the Mouvement des Forces Démocratiques de Casamance (MFDC), a separatist militant group that has fought for the independence of Casamance since 1982, is suspected of being behind the attacks, their involvement has not been confirmed.
Most Western governments advise against nonessential travel to the Casamance region (with the exception of zones around Oussouye and Cap Skirring, considered secure), as well as along the Malian and Mauritanian borders, due to security concerns.
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