Senegalese jazz festival cancelled over security fears

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JAZZ FESTIVAL

Authorities in Senegal on Tuesday cancelled the West African country’s annual Saint-Louis Jazz festival, due to open next week, citing security concerns.

All events linked to the festival, scheduled to run from May 11-15, “are banned”, Mariama Traore, prefect for the northwestern Saint-Louis region, said in a statement.

She said the decision was based on “the prevailing security environment, the vulnerability of the municipality of Saint-Louis and the refusal of the organisers to engage in the security efforts,” without specifying any security threats.

Senegal’s president Macky Sall announced last month that he would boost manpower and equipment for military and civil defence forces in the face of increasingly bold attacks by jihadists in neighbouring countries.

The west African nation has until now avoided the kind of deadly attacks mounted by Al-Qaeda-linked groups that have claimed dozens of lives in Burkina Faso, Mali and most recently Ivory Coast.

Some of the festival organisers expressed surprise at the announcement, adding that they had held many meetings with authorities about the event.

Several local and international artists were lined up to play at the 24th Saint-Louis Jazz festival including Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, US jazz fusion bassist Marcus Miller and Senegal’s own Cheikh Lo.

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