[QODLink]
Africa
Senegal severs ties with Iran
Senegal's foreign ministry accuses Tehran of supplying weapons to separatist rebels in its southern Casamance region.
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2011 13:17 GMT
The incident has soured relations between Senegalese president Wade, left, and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [AFP]

Senegal has cut diplomatic ties with Iran, accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to separatist rebels in its southern Casamance region, the foreign ministry said.

"Senegal has decided to break off diplomatic relations with the Republic of Iran," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement linked the Iranian weapons with an attack on Sunday in Casamance, the latest in a string of such attacks by rebels engaged in one of Africa's longest-running conflicts, which resulted in the deaths of three Senegalese troops.

'Iranian bullets'

"The report presented to the president of the Republic [Abdoulaye Wade] by the army chief of staff on recent developments in Casamance has shown that the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC) was using sophisticated weapons which caused the death of Senegalese soldiers," the statement said.

"Senegal is outraged to see that Iranian bullets caused the death of three Senegalese soldiers."

The row is the latest in a spate of diplomatic upsets between Iran and West African nations over alleged arms smuggling that has damaged the Iranian government's search for trade partners on the continent.

In December, Senegal recalled its ambassador to Iran, saying the government of the west African country was unsatisfied with explanations given by Iranian officials over a seizure of mortars and rockets in Nigeria in October.

Neighbouring Gambia has also cut ties with Tehran over the arms shipment.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.