Senegal

Senegal

Senegal Present-day Senegal gained independence from France in 1960, as part of the Mali Federation, which also included present-day Mali, then known as French Sudan. Due to internal political problems, the federation was short-lived, surviving only two months. In September 1960 both Senegal and Mali proclaimed independence. The country has also been joined with neighbouring the Gambia. In 1982 the two countries signed the Treaty of Confederation. The result, the Senegambia Confederation, aimed eventually to combine the armed forces of the two nations and to unify economies and currencies. However, the Gambia withdrew from the confederation in 1989.

Senegal's first president was Léopold Senghor, who led the socialist party PS (Parti Socialiste du Sénégal, the Socialist Party of Senegal). Senghor and PS came to dominate the political life of the country, the former until he resigned in 1980 and the latter until 2000. Under Senghor, PS was the sole legal party. However, when Abdou Diouf replaced him as the head of both the the country and PS, Senegal started a multi-party regime. In the presidential election of 2000, opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade defeated Diouf. He and his party PDS (Parti Démocratique Sénégalais, Senegalese Democratic Party) remained in power through the following seven years and were re-elected in 2007.

The population in Senegal is comprised of a wide variety of ethnic groups, of which the Wolof is the single largest one. A majority of the Senegalese are Muslims. However, in the south of the country there is a Christian minority, the Diola. They inhabit the Casamance region, which has been the scene of an intrastate conflict between the separatist rebel group MFDC (Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance, Movement of the Democratic Forces of the Casamance) and the government through the 1990s and well into the 2000s. In the context of this conflict, the rebels have carried out one-sided violence. Splits within the rebel movement has also led to a non-state conflict.

Senegal was a secondary warring party in the conflicts in the Gambia (1981) and in Guinea-Bissau (1998-99). In both cases Senegalese troops were sent in support of the governemnt side in the conflicts.

Since 1946 Senegal has experienced the intrastate, non-state and one-sided categories of UCDP organised violence.