Dakar, Senegal - Hours after the announcement of the cancellation of the 24th edition of Africa’s popular Jazz Festival in St Louis, Senegal over #Terrorism threats, Youssou Ndour, the King of Mbalax has voiced out his opposition to the decision saying “the event should not have been cancelled.”

The festival is the most important jazz festival in Africa and annually gathers musicians from all over the world to share the roots of African music and culture.

Organizer refused to engage security efforts

Authorities in Senegal on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the annual event scheduled to take place from May 11 - 15 in Saint-Louis, northwestern Senegal over security concerns.

Mariama Traore, prefect for Saint-Louis region said in a statement on Tuesday that the cancellation was based on “the prevailing security environment, the vulnerability of the municipality of Saint-Louis and the refusal of the organizers to engage in the security efforts,” without specifying any security threats.

The West African nation has until now avoided the kind of deadly attacks engulfing neighboring countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and most recently Ivory Coast.

Cancellation is a win for terrorists

For the international music star Youssou Ndour, cancelling the event is another plus to the terrorists groups and will increase the level of threat posed. He said that they should never have cancelled the event in the first place. He told private radio RFM that if the event is cancelled, they have psychologically "beaten us without any attack or whatsoever yet.” 

According to the lead vocal of Super Etoile Band who is also a minister in the government, since there is a global terrorism threat, the event should have just been organized in a sizeable and well-secured ground rather than in the open space. Ndour said that the cancellation will frustrate people in future event participation and those who made investments for the event will be in the losing end. It is also estimated that it will deprive the city from gaining over 4 million CFA Francs.

Artists were lined up to peform.

Several local and international artists were lined up to perform during the event among them Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, US jazz fusion bassist Marcus Miller and Senegal's own Cheikh Lo. The festival organizers expressed disappointment at the announcement saying that they had held many meetings with authorities about the event.

On Monday Senegal  signed a defense agreement with the United States giving it permanent access to its security installments to adequately counter, respond to terrorist threats and incidents.  #News #Foreign Affairs