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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Call for African pact against terrorism
Abdoulaye Wade
Wade gets on with the Muslim world, France and the US
The President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, has called for an African pact against terrorism.

Mr Wade, speaking in Paris, urged African leaders to come together following last week's attacks in America to ensure terrorist groups were deprived of any kind of support in Africa.

Beyond verbal declarations, African countries should engage in direct actions in the global fight

Abdoulaye Wade

He suggested that the Organisation of African Unity establish a seven-member committee of African heads of state to ensure that no country on the continent offered sanctuary to terrorist groups, much less money or aid.

Senegal's population is 95% Muslim, but fundamentalist Islam is not common and relations with the Christian minority are good.

Everyone's friend

Mr Wade himself is a member of the Mouride Islamic sect yet his wife is a French Christian.

For many years, Senegal has managed to simultaneously maintain close diplomatic ties with the Muslim world, former colonial power France and the US, which has praised it as a model of democracy in west Africa.

Ruined el-Shifa factory
The el-Shifa factory was destroyed by US missiles

"Beyond verbal declarations, African countries should engage in direct actions in the global fight," said Mr Wade.

He went to Paris from London where he was part of a delegation of six African heads of state which held talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

That delegation also condemned the attacks on the US.

Military aid

Senegal's army has received training and military aid from both France and the US in recent years.

It is also a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conferences.

Osama Bin Laden, the prime suspect for the US suicide attacks, was based in Sudan before leaving in 1996.

Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden left Sudan in 1996

Following attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, the US bombed a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan.

Sudan has now moved closer to the US.

The government says that agents from the FBI and CIA have been based in Khartoum for the past year, working with Sudanese intelligence to investigate claims that terrorist groups are based in Sudan.

This week, there have been unconfirmed reports of groups linked to Bin Laden operating in Somalia and Tanzania.

See also:

10 Sep 01 | Africa
Senegal's Carmen controversy
02 Apr 00 | Africa
New era for Senegal
18 Sep 01 | Africa
Sudan 'safe from US attack'
14 Sep 01 | Africa
Kenya mourns with US
07 Aug 01 | Africa
Kenya remembers bomb victims
23 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Senegal
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