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Guerrilla Violence Mars Senegal Presidential Election

February 28, 2000|From Associated Press

DAKAR, Senegal — Voters cast ballots in Senegal's presidential election Sunday as rebel attacks and political unrest threatened one of Africa's few enduring democracies.

The contest pitting President Abdou Diouf against seven challengers is the country's most contentious in decades after 40 years of rule by the Socialist Party.

Electoral officials said late Sunday night that a provisional count could be released today.

If Senegal plunges into violence so soon after the December military takeover in Ivory Coast--another traditional bastion of African stability--Western diplomats worry it could trigger a flight of development aid and trade away from the continent.

Rebels fighting for independence in the Casamance region launched at least two attacks Sunday, including a rocket assault on the town of Nyassia, near the southern border with Guinea-Bissau, radio stations said.

Several people were injured, the private Wal Fadjri FM station said. At least one soldier was killed in the second attack, near the town of Kolda, about 200 miles southeast of Dakar, the capital, another independent station, Sud FM, reported.

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