ICRC visits eight people held by MFDC in Casamance

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Geneva/Dakar (ICRC) – On 14 January, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited a gendarme, six military personnel and one other person captured between 13 December 2011 and 2 January 2012 by the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). All eight people were given the opportunity to write messages to their families.

"We talked to the detainees in order to assess the conditions in which they are being held and the treatment they are receiving," said Fabienne Deraemaeker, the ICRC delegate in charge of the visit. "Afterwards, we shared our findings confidentially with the MFDC, in accordance with our standard working procedures." Food items, and hygiene articles such as soap and toothbrushes, were distributed to the eight detainees.

On 21 December 2011, the ICRC had already visited the five Senegalese armed forces personnel whom the MFDC had captured first. "We stand ready to make further visits to the eight detainees for as long as is necessary," said Ms Deraemaeker.

The ICRC has been working in Casamance since 2004 to bring protection and assistance to victims of the conflict. In addition to visiting detainees, the ICRC upgrades and provides support for health-care facilities, helps villagers boost their farming capacity, improves access to clean drinking water, in particular by sinking wells, and takes emergency action for people adversely affected by violence.

For further information, please contact:

Dénes Benczédi, ICRC Dakar, tel: +221 77 529 71 45 or +221 33 869 14 40

Steven Anderson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50