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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Senegal arrests French nationals
Alpha Jallow
BBC, Ziguinchor, Senegal

President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal
President Wade's government denies retaliation

The authorities in Dakar say they have arrested more than 35 French nationals for allegedly violating immigration laws in Senegal.

The move is believed to be in retaliation for the arrest in Paris and subsequent deportation of 100 Senegalese from France, three months ago.

But the Senegalese government spokesman, who is also the Minister of the Environment, Modo Diagne Fada, denied that the arrest of the French nationals was ordered as a retaliatory measure.

This is a clear message to the large European population in Senegal to renew their visas or face deportation, he said.

Many people in Senegal have hailed the government, saying that it has taken the right decision against the French.

'Undesirable elements'

In a radio phone-in- programme on Thursday in Ziguinchor, caller upon caller castigated the attitude of some of the French living in Senegal describing them as "undesirable elements".

Most of the Senegalese who were recently deported from France arrived at the airport in Dakar in humiliating conditions.

Some of them were handcuffed.

For months, the Senegalese authorities have been concerned about the wave of arrests and deportations of their citizens living in France.


Now the government is planning to introduce stiff immigration laws in a bid to curb the large flow of Westerners seeking residence permits to live in Senegal.

Meanwhile in another development, France and Senegal have agreed to "strengthen co-operation in the field of security between the police forces and the gendarmeries of the two countries".

The agreement was reached on Wednesday following a meeting in Paris between the French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and Senegalese Prime Minister Idrissa Seck.

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