17/07/2020 – Senegal on Tuesday began building a military camp near its border with violence-torn Mali to address « cross-border threats (and) trafficking », the defence ministry said.
The camp is being constructed at Goudiry in the east of the country, nearly 600km from the capital Dakar.
Neither the ministry nor the army gave details of troop numbers or the kind of equipment that the base would house.
Mali is in the grip of an eight-year jihadist insurgency that has spread into neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, claiming thousands of lives and driving hundreds of thousands from their homes.
Senegal has so far been untouched, but it has stepped up security and contributed troops to the UN peacekeeping force in Mali, and its courts have handed out several sentences in recent years for « terrorism ».
Barracks housing gendarmes – a police force under the control of the military – have also been built in Senegal’s north and east.
The ceremonial first stone of the camp in Goudiry was laid by armed forces minister Sidiki Kaba, flanked by army chief General Birame Diop, the military told AFP.
The ministry said in a statement the authorities planned to « intensify the territorial network » of the security forces « to adapt to changes in the regional strategic context and heighten the response to the public’s need in terms of security ».
Sahel-Elite (Bamako-Mali) | Photo illustration: Coalition of the People of Azawad (CPA) fighters are seen holding weapons while sitting on a Land Cruise, while patrolling the area near the Mali-Mauritania border to protect local populations.