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2003-07-08

Bush Arrives in Senegal to Kick-off Five-Nation Tour of Africa

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The President will visit Goree Island, one of the best-known memorials to millions of Africans driven from West Africa’s jungles and sold into slavery. In Dakar, more than thousand protesters were arrested ahead of Bush’s arrival.

Police rounded up more than a thousand protesters in Dakar in advance of the visit to Senegal by US President George Bush and his 600-strong tour group of staff and journalists.

The round-up on Saturday night was in collaboration with US security agents in the country ahead of Bush’s arrival. This according to the Cape Times.

He arrived to Senegal on the first leg of a five-nation African tour. He was greeted by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade at the airport this morning.

Bush was accompanied by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The trip is designed to work toward several stated goals: fighting AIDS, boosting national security and encouraging emerging markets.

During the 2000 campaign, Bush said he would not put Africa on his priority list and was not interested in the US taking on "peacekeeping and nation-building" responsibilities.

Bush starts his visit in Senegal, and — as Clinton did in 1998 — he will visit Goree Island off the Senegal coast.

In an article for Reuters, freelance journalist Diadie Ba writes:

“The island, just two miles off Senegal’s breezy capital Dakar, was for centuries the end of the line for thousands of slaves driven from West Africa’s jungles.

“Shackled and scared, they hobbled through the Slave House, out its "door of no return" to the churning Atlantic and onto ships to ferry them over the "Middle Passage," as the crossing to the New World and a lifetime of servitude was known."

  • Diadie Ba, Senegalese freelance journalist reporting for Reuters from Dakar.

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