OUT OF AFRICA (Updated April 7, 2010)

April 5, 2010 at 12:14 am Leave a comment

Senegal Bounces French from Bases

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade to take over all French military bases in the former West African colony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock)

To mark the 50th anniversary of its independence from France, Senegal is taking over control of French military bases in the West African nation, President Abdoulaye Wade announced over the weekend. Effective immediately, Senegal will reclaim sovereignty over French military and naval facilities, Wade said in a speech delivered Saturday.

French authorities, however, say reducing French military manpower to about 200 in Senegal has been a topic of discussion between the two countries for the last two years. Senegal achieved its independence from France in 1960.

And a top leader of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, says the shift isn’t expected to affect AFRICOM’s mission of providing training, medical and civil assistance to partner nations in West Africa. “We don’t anticipate it will present any  challenges,” Moeller, AFRICOM’s deputy commander for military operations told bloggers in a Defense Department roundtable today (April 7).

France and its former colony have had a defense agreement since 1974, and 1,200 French soldiers are currently “re-positioned” in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, one of three permanent French bases in Africa, says AFP.

The move reduces the number of French military installations on the continent two: a former French Foreign Legion post – shared with U.S. forces – in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and Libreville in Gabon, also in West Africa, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Courtesy UN.org

Moeller indicated Senegal’s move doesn’t appear to have any wider implications for French bases in Africa, including Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. He said the the French government has not signaled any change in the status of its presence at the 500-acre base, which the U.S. leases from the Djiboutian government. Since 2003, Camp Lemonnier has been  headquarters to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. 

Entry filed under: Africa, National Security and Defense. Tags: , , , , , .


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April 2010


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