Terrorism prompts Senegal to boost defence budget

Senegal has announced an increase in the defence and interior ministries’ budgets for 2016 in anticipation of terror attacks.
The two ministries are considered frontline security ministries.
The defence ministry budget will rise from 127.2 billion CFA francs to 150.78 billion CFA francs (approximately $114 million to $126 million) while that of the interior will rise from 64.8 billion CFA francs to 76.1 billion CFA francs.
The leading online Seneweb publication reported on Monday that Ecobank will help in the funding. It has spearheaded a fundraising campaign from within the banking sector that has raised 23 billion CFA francs (about $11.5 million).
The amount represents the banking sector’s contribution to the government’s security efforts.
Senegal shares a long border with Mali where several jihadist groups are struggling to create a regional base in the vast Sahel belt in the north of the country.
Two of the groups claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Bamako on Friday that killed 21 people.
Besides the terror threats from foreign jihadists, it is widely feared that there are dormant Islamist cells inside Senegal which are offshoots of the country’s majority Muslim sects.
Since a month ago, several radical Imams with connections to terrorist groups have been arrested over alleged plans to undermine the country’s national security.
The most prominent among them, Makhtar Diockane, was apprehended in Niger as he attempted to cross the border into Nigeria with a large sum of money – including fake foreign currency bills – to join the Boko Haram insurgents.