Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 11:33 UK

Senegal sacking over paper raids

Farba Senghor
Farba Senghor is a key member of the ruling party

Senegal's Aviation Minister Farba Senghor has been sacked over alleged links to raids on two newspapers.

A group of men ransacked the offices of the privately owned L'As and 24 Heures Chrono earlier this month and police have made several arrests.

The BBC's Mame Less Camara in Dakar says some of those arrested are Mr Senghor's security guards.

The raids came after Mr Senghor had publicly condemned the papers but he has denied any involvement.

Communication Minister Abdul Aziz Sow said the sacking was not an admission of the ex-minister's guilt.

"Senghor's name was brought up in the course of an investigation. This will allow him to defend himself in court," Mr Sow told Reuters news agency.

Mr Senghor is a key member of the ruling Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS).

He had accused four papers of a "relentless, orchestrated" campaign against him.

"As a consequence, Minister Farba Senghor reserves the right to retaliate, and warns anybody who might be offended at his exercise of his legitimate right to defence," his office said in a statement shortly before the raids.

Printing equipment was destroyed and mace sprayed at employees, Reuters reports.

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