Archive for Senegal
Protests over the construction of a new Turkish embassy in the Senegalese capital Dakar have highlighted anger in the West African nation over a property boom that is swallowing the coastline and squeezing ordinary people’s budgets. Riot police teargased protesters and arrested 23 people at a demonstration last week alongside a breeze-block wall constructed to house the embassy compound on a picturesque stretch of Dakar’s coast, where luxury villas, hotels and shopping centres have sprung up in recent years. Built on a peninsula reaching into the Atlantic Ocean, the city of three million is growing at breakneck speed, fuelled by migrants from rural Senegal and neighbouring countries. Hemmed in by water on three sides, Dakar’s population is on track to hit five million by 2025, experts say. Civil society groups have formed a movement called “No to the wall” to oppose the embassy’s construction amid growing opposition to the development of coastal areas used by residents to relax, walk and exercise. They say the embassy’s compound wall blocks access to a long stretch of pristine coastline. Some rights groups accuse new President Macky Sall’s government – which authorised the embassy’s construction on the protected coastline despite opposition from Dakar’s city council – of riding roughshod over civil liberties by banning and dispersing protests.
The Russian Embassy in Dakar has asked Senegal’s Foreign Ministry to explain the detention of the Oleg Naidenov trawler, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday. The Russian trawler was detained by the Senegalese navy Saturday off the coasts of Senegal and Guinea-Bissau on suspicion of illegally fishing in Senegal’s waters. It was escorted to the port of Dakar, where it was put under military police guard. “The Russian Embassy has contacted Senegal’s Foreign Ministry for an explanation of [its] military personnel’s actions in regard to the Russian fishing vessel,” the statement said. “In cooperation with representatives of the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency in Dakar, our diplomats are taking further steps for its soonest release and return to sea.” Agence France Presse news agency cited Senegal’s Fisheries Minister Haidar El Ali as saying Sunday that the country planned to fine the trawler’s owner about $800,000 for repeated illegal fishing in its waters. Yury Parshev, executive director of Feniks, the company that owns the Oleg Naidenov, insists the trawler was fishing legally in Guinea-Bissau’s waters. The Federal Fisheries Agency also denies any wrongdoing by the ship, which is believed to have been carrying a crew of 62 Russians and about 20 nationals of Guinea-Bissau. Russian Embassy and Federal Fisheries Agency officials will meet with Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, on Tuesday to discuss the situation.
The Federal Government in Abuja said that it had constituted a board of inquiry on the attack on Nigeria’s Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) recalled that on March 4, a group of Nigerians resident in Dakar attacked the embassy over an alleged disappearance of a corpse of a Nigerian, Mr Kingsley Irogbulam, from a Senegalese mortuary. Irogbulam was allegedly killed in June 2012 by his Senegalese business partner under a mysterious circumstance. Mr Olugbenga Ashiru, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced this at an investigative hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. He said a strong protest had been made to the Senegalese authorities, especially over the failure of the police to respond promptly to the distress call. In her testimony, Mrs Katyen Jackden, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Senegal, said a distress call was made to the nearest police station some few metres away from the chancery for help. According to her, the police only responded after 30 minutes, after the attackers had departed. She blamed the police for not making any attempt to arrest any of the culprits.
The Nigerian Embassy in the Senegalese capital Dakar was attacked with its premises invaded and staff injured, the Foreign Ministry said. Some Nigerians residing in Senegal stormed the embassy, beating up some staff and vandalizing the building, according to the ministry. The aggrieved persons were reportedly disappointed over the refusal by the Nigerian Embassy and Consulate to help retrieve the body of a dead Nigerian.
The U.S. Embassy in Senegal said it had received information of a bomb threat to the capital Dakar. In a text message to U.S. citizens, the embassy advised its nationals to stay away from the city centre until further notice but did not give any further details. A Senegalese security source confirmed the threat and said the authorities had taken “necessary measures”. The United States and African governments are backing a five-week-old French military campaign against Islamist rebels in Senegal’s neighbour Mali. Senegal has sent several hundred troops to join an African force being deployed to Mali. Islamists have threatened to strike back at anyone who supports the mission. France, which has about 18,000 citizens in Senegal, said it did not have any information on a possible threat.
The Iranian deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs says Iran and Senegal are set to reopen embassies in each other’s countries following the resumption of bilateral relations. “Our country is in the process of sending an ambassador to Dakar,” said Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a Saturday interview. He expressed optimism that Dakar would also reopen its embassy in Tehran and appoint an ambassador soon. Following the meeting of the Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Sall on the sidelines of the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on February 6, the two presidents announced the resumption of bilateral ties, which had been severed in 2011, and the reopening of the two countries’ embassies.
Senegal has announced that it was shutting down two of its 43 embassies as well as two of its 11 consulates in several parts of the world. The move is in keeping with President Macky Sall’s pledge following his election victory in March this year. President Sall had argued that the move would help the country to recover millions of dollars that were “badly needed and could be diverted to more useful purposes at home”. A government statement, quoted by the local daily L’AS, named Liberia and Cuba as the two countries where Senegal’s embassies have been ordered closed. Hence, no allocation has been made in the 2013 budget for the embassies in Monrovia and Havana, as well as its consulates in Havre (near Paris), Luanda and Brazil. The report further indicated that the Senegal would also shut down its consulates in Houston (USA) whose facilities have reportedly been packed and were being transported to the embassy in New York. In Kingston, Angola and Gambia, the consulates have been ordered closed while the reduced staff in Banjul has been redirected to work with the embassy there. A similar scenario has been designed for Cote d’Ivoire where the consulate will be closed and its reduced staff redirected to work with the country’s embassy there. In Beirut, the embassy staff will be reduced by half from 12; whereas the economic representation in Singapore, as well as the consulate of Guanghzou, and the position of the representative of the World Trade Council, will be cancelled. The newspaper further disclosed that even though the budget for some missions would suffer from drastic cuts, others would be reinforced. Hence, the paper said, the budget of the mission in New York would rise from $315,188 to $374,216, whereas that of Senegal’s representation to the UN would rise from $631,076 to $687,662 per year.