The Senegalese government today severed diplomatic ties with Iran, accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to anti-government rebels. The Senegalese foreign minister announced the decision on state TV.
Senegal has been saying for months that the weapons supplied to the rebels in the southern Casamance region have been used in attacks against its army and has caused many casualties. The conflict between the Senegalese government and the rebels is one of the longest in Africa. The insurgency started in 1982.
"The rebels of the ‘Democratic Forces of Casamance’ used sophisticated weapons which caused the deaths of the Senegalese soldiers," the foreign minister said [Xinhua, 23 February].
Last December, then-foreign minister of Iran, Manuchehr Mottaki, visited Senegal to ease the tensions between the two countries. During the infamous trip, while Mottaki was meeting with the Senegalese president, his hosts informed him that the Iranian news agencies had announced that he was fired from his post by President Ahmadinejad. Later that day Senegal recalled its ambassador from Tehran.