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At least five killed in bank attack in Senegal's Casamance

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Suspected separatist rebels in Senegal's Casamance region killed three people including a Frenchman in an attack on a bank, and two of the assailants were killed in a subsequent clash with Senegalese troops, the army said Saturday.

The attackers, suspected to be members of the Casamance Movement for Democratic Forces (MDFC), raided the Credit Mutuel bank and nearby shops in the town of Kafountine on Friday night, killing at least three civilians including a French national, the army said.

Senegalese troops responding to the attack then killed two of the suspected rebels, it said.

Locals interviewed by AFP said four civilians had in fact been killed, the largest attack since President Macky Sall came to power in March 2012.

The MDFC has been fighting for independence for the restive Casamance region south of Gambia in a conflict that has defied several peace initiatives.

Over the past 30 years the conflict has cost thousands of lives and displaced thousands more.

The Senegalese government began new peace negotiations in Rome with rebel representatives in October last year.

In December, the MDFC freed eight hostages it had been holding for a year, raising hopes the conflict was nearing a peaceful resolution.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130202/at-least-five-killed-bank-attack-senegals-casamance