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How to get count of a specific character

From: Angus Comber
Subject: How to get count of a specific character
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 06:29:35 -0800 (PST)
User-agent: G2/1.0

I have a buffer which is a massive long line of names followed by semi-colon.  
I want to get a list of the number of names I have.  I can highlight the region 
and use wc to get count of words and divide by 2 to get a rough measure.

But it would be an easy task if I could simply get a count of the number of 
semi-colon characters?

Does anyone know a way to get this?

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