The Senegalese government has urged hotels in the country to increase security following recent terror attacks in the region. The interior minister said hotels that fail to step up security will face closure.
Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo explained to MPs that the country had set up a security operation cell to respond in case of a terror attack, according to Agence de Presse Senegalaise (APS).
He also called on the Senegalese population to help in the fight against terrorism. "Terrorism is not just a problem for the government, it must be a fight for all Senegalese people," he said.
The minister also added that armed officers will patrol hotels across the country as part of anti-terrorist measures. Recent attacks at hotels and restaurants in Burkina Faso and Mali have left 50 people dead. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Fear of Boko Haram-linked attacks
Although Senegal has not been victim of major terror attacks by Islamist groups, the government is concerned that terrorists – particularly members of the Nigeria-based terror group Boko Haram, now affiliated to Islamic State (Isis) – might infiltrate the country and carry out attacks.
Earlier in January, France warned Senegal and the Ivory Coast and Islamist militants were planning attacks in the main cities of the two countries, according to a report by Bloomberg. In a move to limit possibilities of attacks, Senegal also announced it intends to ban the full Islamic veil after authorities arrested four imams suspected of having ties with Boko Haram.
The group, which carries out attacks predominantly in north-eastern Nigeria and Cameroon, is renowned for carrying out suicide bombings − or forcing abducted women and children to do so − disguising the explosive under burqas.