A Senegalese military helicopter has crashed in the central part of the country, killing eight people and injuring several others, a military official said on Thursday.
Colonel Abdoul Ndiaye, Senegalese army spokesman, said the crash occurred on Wednesday night in Missirah in central Senegal. The Mi-17 helicopter was traveling from Ziguinchor in southwestern Senegal to the capital Dakar, according to the army.
The first statement by the government at around midnight reported the deaths of six people and 14 wounded, including three seriously. The helicopter was carrying civilians returning from a funeral in Ziguinchor with a military crew. It crashed in a mangrove area near Missirah in the Fatick region. A journalist from Senegalese television RTS is among the injured.
Colonel Ndiaye did not reveal the identities of those killed. The government said it has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.
A statement from the Senegalese government said upon receipt of a distress message sent by the aircraft, all the technical teams of the Senegalese aeronautical services went to the Regional Air Navigation Centre of ASECNA, to follow the situation together with the staff of the French Army.
According to the latest information, the head of state has Macky Sall offered his condolences to the families of the victims and wished speedy recovery to the wounded.
Paris court upholds ruling on Karim Wade’s assets
A magistrate in Paris has brushed aside any idea of ??confiscating assets in France belonging to Karim Wade, the son of Senegal’s former president Abdoulaye Wade. The Appeals court upheld a 26 September 2016 ruling by the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) in Paris that the illicit enrichment for which Karim is prosecuted has no equivalent in French law.
The assets which Senegal wants confiscated include an apartment located along rue de la Faisanderie, in Paris, as well as a bank account domiciled in Paris-Madeleine (with a balance of €48,000) allegedly owned by Mr Wade.
In the case of Karim’s co-convict Ibrahim Aboukhalil-said “Bibo Bourgi”, Senegalese prosecutors also requested the confiscation of his apartment along rue Emile Menier, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
Lawyers for Karim Wade have welcomed the decision of the Paris magistrate to uphold the 26 September 2016 ruling forbidding Senegal to seize his assets in France.
“Justice has been served in Paris, in conformity with the law, by honest and independent judges”, the group of lawyers declared in a statement seen by APA on Wednesday.
According to them, this is the latest setback to the Senegalese state internationally after earlier failures to sanction Karim by the Ecowas Court of Justice and the United Nations Working Group.
According to the group Karim’s court victory clears him to exercise his civil and political rights as a genuine candidate for Senegal’s presidential election slated for February 2019.
Senegal orders armoured vehicles for its gendarmerie
Senegal has ordered two different types of armoured vehicles from Turkey for its gendarmerie, with deliveries set to commence this month.
Private Turkish company Nurol Makina was awarded the contract for Ejder Yalcin and Ejder Toma vehicles, which are set to be delivered in batches in March and April/May this year, according to Turkish media. Senegalese personnel are currently being trained on the vehicles.
The Ejder Yalcin is a 4×4 vehicle that can be equipped with manned or unmanned turrets housing 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machineguns or a 25 mm cannon or 40 mm grenade launcher. Various configurations are available, such as explosives disposal, air defence, command and control, internal security, ambulance, combat vehicle, reconnaissance etc. Army Recognition reports that Senegal’s vehicles will be equipped with open turrets.
The 14 ton Ejder Yalcin can carry 11 people or a payload of 4 tons. Top speed is 120 km/h and range 700 km. A V-hull provides landmine protection.
The Ejder Toma is a 4×4 riot control vehicle equipped with a water cannon (with 5,000 litre water tank) that can also dispense tear gas, dye or foam. Equipment includes cameras, sirens, spotlights and a bulldozer blade for clearing barricades. It has a top speed of 110 km/h and range of 750 km.
According to Turkish media, Nurol Makina have previously exported vehicles to Tunisia, with 70 being delivered. Other customers include Uzbekistan and Qatar.
It is not clear how many vehicles have been ordered by Senegal.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers database, Senegal has in the last five years received a number of different armoured vehicle types, including two Oncilla (Dozor-B) armoured cars from Poland, 55 Puma M26 armoured vehicles from South Africa, 55 RAM armoured vehicles from Israel and 12 WMA-301 Assaulter armoured fighting vehicles from China.
Frontex: 6,000 Senegalese illegal migrants intercepted in 2017
The Executive Secretary of Frontex (European Border and Coast Guard Agency), Fabrice Leggeri, has announced that in 2017 Frontex intercepted 6,000 Senegalese migrants in down from 10,000 intercepted in 2016.
Executive Secretary Leggeri said in their fight against irregular migration to Europe, they have noted that sub-Saharan Africans constitute the majority of engaging in illegal migration, with a strong presence of Gambians, Nigerians and Ivorians. Fabrice Leggeri said that one million irregular migrants crossed the European border from Turkey. In 2017 Frontex recorded that 120,000 passed through Libya, 40,000 through Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria and 23,000 irregular migrants passed through Morocco and Spain to enter Europe. According to Leggeri, “the Libyan route is nowadays the most used by sub-Saharan migrants”.
He said Frontex is based on cooperation between 26 African states and EU countries in the context of data exchange, border management, air and maritime surveillance with a view to combating illegal immigration, illegal fishing and arms trafficking.