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Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Africans split on US strikes
Remains of UN offices in Kabul
Images from the US-led strikes are now filtering through
Africa has given a mixed reaction to the United States-led strikes against Afghanistan.

We are not ruling out the possibility of providing troops, neither are we taking it off the table, it all depends on what is requested

Charles Taylor
Regional powers Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt have all supported the US action, while Liberia's President Charles Taylor has said he would be willing to send troops to Afghanistan.

But Sudan, once a target for US military strikes against alleged terrorists, has criticised the air assaults, claiming they are targeted against Afghan Muslims

The Sudanese authorities had previously offered their support to the US anti-terror stance.

A correspondent for the BBC in Khartoum says the change in tone reflects that of the mood of the people who are not convinced that Saudi-born Osama Bin Laden, Washington's chief suspect, was behind the suicide attacks.

Despite their government's position, several thousand Egyptian university students held anti-US demonstrations for a second day in Cairo.

Correspondents say that security forces prevented the protestors from leaving the campuses.

Flags burned

In one university, students burned US and Israeli flags and chanted "Arrogant George Bush, tomorrow you will reap the fruits of your war!"

At the same time, President Hosni Mubarak said: "We support all the measures taken by the United States to resist terrorism because we have suffered from it in the past."

Liberian soldier
Is this Liberian soldie ready to go to Afghanistan?

The Nigerian Government agreed, saying that "threats to world peace" should be removed.

"We reject any association... of Islam with violence or terrorism by anybody," said a spokesman for President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Nigeria has a large Muslim population and several northern states have introduced sharia Islamic law.

Shortly before the attacks began, President George W Bush telephoned Mr Obasanjo to inform him that they were imminent.

'War on Islam'

However, Ishack Akintola, the leader of a Nigerian Islamic association, Muslim Rights Concern, has condemned the strikes as a war on Islam.

At least 11 Nigerians are believed to have died in the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center.

President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal
Wade has called for an African pact against terrorism

Many African countries with sizeable Muslim populations have still to respond including Algeria, Libya, Tunisia and Mauritania.

Malian defence minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga said the attacks were "well targeted and timely".

Moroccan Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi said "we hope this won't lead to a spillover which could have bad results."

Reprisals should not "extend to regions that don't deserve to be hit," he said.

In Mauritania opposition leader Ahmed ould Daddah of the Rally of Democratic Forces called the attacks "unacceptable" and urged the US to "avoid practising terrorism".

The RFD had earlier condemned the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Liberian troops

President Charles Taylor of Liberia said that the global coalition formed to fight terrorism can use Liberia's airport facilities and airspace.

He also pledged to contribute additional assistance, saying: "We are not ruling out the possibility of providing troops, neither are we taking it off the table, it all depends on what is requested."

Liberia is currently the subject of United Nations sanctions because of its alleged support for the rebel RUF movement in Sierra Leone.


After being noncommittal on Monday, South Africa has now come out in support of the US.

If we make a martyr of Osama Bin Laden, we will be cloning several others out of the ashes of one Osama

Mohammed Haida, Kenyan elder

"South Africa recognises the right of the USA administration to seek out those responsible for those acts of terror perpetrated against people on September 11 and to ensure that justice is meted out to them," said deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad.

But Mr Pahad said that South Africa was not ready to send troops to help the US-led coalition in Afghanistan.

He also warned sympathisers of Osama Bin Laden that they would not be allowed to recruit South Africans to fight in Afghanistan.

African pact

Qibla, an Islamic organisation based in Cape Town, home to many Muslims, reportedly threatened on Monday that it was considering retaliatory action against the US.

Qibla and another South African group, People Against Gangsterism And Drugs, were recently named as terrorist organisation by the US.

President Hassan El-Bashir of Sudan
Sudan's change of tack reflects the mood of the people

In East Africa, where the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania left over 200 dead and 5,000 injured, there has been no official reaction to Sunday's air assaults.

But Professor Mohammed Haida, a Muslim elder in Mombasa home to Kenya's Muslim community, told the BBC's Network Africa programme that Muslims there feel the US action is "not the right thing to do and it won't achieve much".

"You don't fight terrorism with terrorism," he said. "If we make a martyr of Osama Bin Laden, which he is keen to do, we will be cloning several others out of the ashes of one Osama."

Some Muslim leaders in Somalia have also been critical of the attacks.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade has called for an African pact against terrorism and is organising a meeting to discuss the idea next week.

See also:

07 Oct 01 | South Asia
Eyewitness: Effect of the attacks
07 Aug 01 | Africa
Kenya remembers bomb victims
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