Obama visit: Senegal launches major security operation

Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Senegal has launched a major security operation to prepare for US President Barak Obama’s visit later this month.

The joint police and gendarmerie operation has been dubbed Karaanguee, which translates as tight grip and clean sweep.

Karaangue would principally seek to fully condition Dakar and its immediate environs, security sources told the Africa Review Tuesday.

Among other things, the security brainstorming session between the two units which ended Monday evening recommended that Dakar’s district of Almadies be completely “bunkerised”.

This includes principally the King Fahd Palace, formerly known as Meridien Président.

The ocean-side palace, which was constructed in the early 1990s, has served as official abode for dozens of world leaders.

The Saudi-built palace has hosted high profile meetings including that of the Organisation of Islamic Conference in 1992 and 2008.

The palace was also the official lodge of former US President Bill Clinton during one of his state visits to Senegal.

The leading independent daily L’Observateur on Tuesday quoted security sources hinting that the palace could house President Obama during the two nights when he visits the country from June 26.

The Senegalese police and gendarmerie hierarchy has also set up a mixed brigade that was combing the city and its environs under a single but “double-engine” security command.

Security sources said the scores auxiliary personnel recruited for the occasion, have roped in hundreds of “delinquent” persons “with the propensity to cause embarrassment”.

Last week, the US ambassador to Senegal, Mr Lewis Lukens, said arrangements were underway to make the residents of Almadies and the slave island of Goree relaxed during President Obama's visit.

There was a huge outcry from the residents of the two localities who complained of being "imprisoned in their homes" during the visits of presidents Clinton and Bush.

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