Saturday, November 16, 2013
French Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, (left) and Senegalese
counterpart Abdoulaye Diallo take part in a working session during a
meeting at the Interior Ministry in Dakar, on November 15, 2013. Vall
announced that Paris would create a "regional homeland security envoy"
role in Dakar to boost the fight against terrorism in Africa's Sahel
region. PHOTO | AFP SEYLLOU
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced on Friday that
Paris would create a "regional homeland security envoy" role in Dakar to
boost the fight against terrorism in Africa's Sahel region.
spotlight has been thrown on the growing threat of Islamist extremism
across the vast hinterland stretching from Senegal in the west to
Somalia in the east since France launched a military operation against
Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mali.
"We hope to put this
fight against terrorism in the context of a Sahel-wide plan that could
be directed from here in Dakar," Valls told reporters during a visit to
the Senegalese capital.
"We are opening (the post of)
French regional homeland security attache to strengthen the teams
already on the ground here in Dakar, to improve efficiency, especially
in the field of intelligence," he added.
the north of neighbouring Mali remains a priority for all west African
nations and for Chad, which sent in troops in January to join the
French-led operation to oust armed Islamist groups who had occupied the
country's desert north.
The rebels have threatened
reprisals in France and in African countries participating in MINUSMA,
the United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali.
Senegalese counterpart, Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo, stressed the need to
strengthen the "exchange of information" between all countries in the
region and France.
He said the movement of militants
across Senegal's 800 kilometres (500 miles) of border with Mauritania
and Mali was difficult to police.
Valls and Diallo
signed a deal formalising the cooperation which already exists between
France and its former colony on terrorism and also on the fight against
The drugs trade is seen as one of the most
pressing political issues in often-volatile west Africa, where
traffickers have been accused of infiltrating the government and
military of Guinea-Bissau, while Al-Qaeda groups in Mali are suspected
of using drug money to finance their operations.
and Senegal want to be at the forefront of the fight against this
scourge and we are determined to put in the human and technical
resources and finance to become more efficient," he said.