Senegal - Iran

Senegal recalls Iran ambassador over Nigerian arms cache

AFP/Gianluigi Guercia

Senegal has recalled its ambassador to Tehran after Iran failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for the arms sent from Iran and discovered in a Nigerian port in October. The two countries had strong diplomatic ties until 13 containers loaded with arms and munitions were found in October in the port of Apapa in the Nigerian capital Lagos.

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Tehran has said that the arms shipment belonged to a private company and was not destined for Nigeria but for another "west African country," later identified as Gambia.

Gambia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on 22 November following the disclosure of the shipment.

Senegalese observers say Dakar feared the arms consignment was intended for Casamance separatist rebels in southern Senegal.

The Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces has been fighting the government since 1982, despite a 2004 peace agreement. Ties between the Gambia and Senegal have often been strained when Senegal has accused Gambia of helping the rebels.

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