Senegal Severs Diplomatic Ties with Iran
    2011-02-23 08:41:08     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang
 

Senegal declared Wednesday it would sever diplomatic ties with Iran, accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to anti-government rebels.

The West African country's foreign ministry announced the decision on state TV around midnight.

The ministry said the weapons supplied by Iran to rebel militants in its southern Casamance region have caused the deaths of Senegalese soldiers.

"The rebels of the Democratic Forces of Casamance used sophisticated weapons which caused the deaths of the Senegalese soldiers," the TV statement said.

The conflict between the Senegalese government and the rebels is one of the longest in Africa. Anti-government rebels have waged insurgency in the south since 1982.

Casamance, which is known for its sunny beaches, was once a prime tourism destination. But visitors have been in decline due to the growing insecurity.

In January, nine government soldiers were killed in clashes in the restive region.

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