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Senegal Says it is Taking Back French Military Bases


Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade says the country is retaking control of military bases held by former colonial ruler France.

Mr. Wade's announcement came in a speech to the nation as Senegal marked 50 years of independence from France on Sunday.

The president said the French bases have come to seem "inconsistent" with the country's independence. He said Senegal resumed control of the bases as of midnight, local time.

The declaration follows an accord reached earlier this year, in which France agreed to withdraw most of the 1,200 French troops based in Senegal.

Neither French nor Senegalese officials have announced a departure date for the troops.

On Saturday, Senegal unveiled a massive statue in the capital, Dakar. The $20 million Monument of African Renaissance depicts an African man raising a child with his left hand while supporting a woman with his right arm.

President Wade was the driving force behind the project. He said Saturday that the statue brings to life Africa's common destiny.

Critics have denounced the project as wasteful and say the portrayal of the barely-dressed woman is un-Islamic.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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