US and Senegal sign a defence cooperation agreement 41205161

Defence & Security News - Senegal
US and Senegal sign a defence cooperation agreement
The United States and Senegal signed a defence cooperation agreement on May 2, to facilitate the deployment of US troops in cases of security or humanitarian crises. The latest agreement is an update to a similar one signed in 2001. It offers to the US forces access and implementation of improvement works to Senegalese infrastructure.
US and Senegal sign a defence cooperation agreement
Senegalese Special Forces commander Brig. Gen. Amadou Kane (right) and Special Operations Command Africa commander Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc, inspecting troops during the annual special operations exercise Flintlock (Photo: US AFRICOM)

Senegal is in a region with heightened security risks posed by jihadi terrorists. Last January the Senegalese security forces arrested 500 people in an country-wide anti-terrorist operation and last February four imams with suspected Boko Haram links were also arrested.

Moreover, the last terrorist attacks in Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and the current situation in Mali are regional sources of instability for Senegal. Another issue is the ban of the burqa. After a series of suicide bombings by Islamist militants disguised as women wearing burqas, the Chadian government has banned its use.

More countries in the region have followed or considering taking the same measures. Senegal is seriously considering banning the burqa, although it possible that jihadists would use it as a justification for an attack. Besides, Al Qaida in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) announced that Senegal is in its sights for closely cooperating with France, which has a strong presence in Mali and the overall region fighting Islamist terrorist groups.

Senegal, albeit a Muslim country it is an example of a religious tolerance and democratic society, with important achievements in economic development. Therefore, the country can be a credible partner in a volatile region. It has already proven that on many occasions as well ass during the Ebola outbreak. Senegal was a staging area for the US troops and health aid workers that took part in the operation to fight the virus.

According to the Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye, the agreement with the United States is a long-term one since “crises are not always predictable”. From his part, the US ambassador in Dakar, James Zumwalt, mentioned that fighting international terrorism requires the cooperation of everyone and that the cooperation will help the two countries’ militaries to reinforce their ties.