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SENEGAL: Navy commander fired over boat accident

Abidjan, 15 October 2002 (IRIN) - Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has sacked the country's navy chief, Ousseynou Combo, following Senegal's worst sea accident that three weeks ago killed close to 1,000 people.

President Wade took the decision based on information that he had received indicating mismanagement within the navy, Senegalese dailies on Tuesday reported him as saying.

According to the local press, disorganisation and a slow beginning of the rescue after the boat tragedy, were among possible errors that led to Combo's dismissal. Two ministers resigned soon after the vessel, 'Le Joola' sank in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of The Gambia.

The country was still awaiting the results of the commission of inquiry mandated by Wade to shed light on the accident, news reports said.

'Le Joola'', which left Casamance in southern Senegal for the capital Dakar, sank on 26 September with more than 1,000 people onboard. Only 64 people survived the accident.

[For IRIN items on the accident]

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[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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