By Mustapha Jarju
Hendry Ndecky, the man who claimed to be the chief mediator in the historic peace deal signing between the Jakai rebels and the government of Senegal, is currently visiting Gambia and had a meeting with the Governor of the west coast region that borders southern Senegalese region of Casamance.
Over the weekend, hundreds of men belonging to the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) rebel faction of Jakai surrendered their arms at the signing of a historic peace deal with the government of Senegal.
The two parties signed a peace deal on Saturday in the village of Jakai in the interior of Casamance, bringing hope to the people that a rebellion entering its 41st year is now ending. The Jakai rebels are one of several rebel groups in Casamance.
The man behind the deal spoke to journalists after meeting the Governor of the West Coast region.
Hendry Ndecky told journalists he had briefed the Governor on the success of signing the peace deal, which led the Jakai rebel to surrender their weapons to the Senegalese government.
“Part of the peace deal, the rebel agreed to lay down their arms on some conditions and some agreements; one is they must be reinstated into some projects, and the government must ensure that those (rebels) who were civil servants or those who were in the military reinstated back in the army. Since these fights started, some citizens of that particular area have not been with any birth certificate or any document, and now part of the agreement is that they must issue them birth certificates.”
Hendry also informs the media that his mediation team’s first meeting with the Jakai rebels was done in Banjul, the Gambia’s capital, because of the vital role played by the Gambia and also the Gambia served as a place where all their peaceful meetings were, which lead to the realization of what they have achieved today.
He said they are trying to ensure that refugees who fled into the Gambian communities due to the fight in the Cassamance region safely return to their villages and that the Senegalese government supports them as they reintegrate into their various communities.
The rebellion in Casamance commenced in 1981, leading to the birth of several civil society organizations that continue to search for peaceful solutions to the conflict through engagements and organization of peace talks both in The Gambia and Senegal. Since the commencement of the insurgency, thousands of people, including civilians, have been killed and the disappearance of dozens of others. The rebel groups in the region claim that they are unfairly treated by the Senegalese government, disregarding the area in terms of development and other opportunities.