One of Africa's foremost Jazz Festival, the St Louis Jazz Festival in Senegal, has been called off by authorities amid security fears, the organizer announced today.
The festival scheduled to take place from May 11 - 15 in Saint-Louis, the capital of Saint-Louis Region located in the northwest of Senegal, is the most important jazz festival in Africa. The event annually gathers musicians from all over the world accords the opportunity to share the roots of African music and culture.
Senegal is a beacon of peace and stability in West Africa and a strong economy in the region. It has been fighting separatists rebels in the south but now faced by the growing threat of #Terrorism. It shares a border with Mali, where AQIM is principally based in the Sahara Desert.
Following recent attacks in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire Grand Bassam Beach Resort, the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso and Raddison Blue Hotel in Mali, Senegal was labeled as ‘an obvious’ next hit because of its popularity as a base for international organizations. Major hotels that host foreigners have since improved their security measures and the police presence in Dakar has markedly increased.
A statement from the Prefecture of St Louis Region on the cancellation of the festival said security is not and cannot be guaranteed 100 percent for the successful hosting of the event.
The organizers expressed disappointment over the move taken by the government
Senegalese griot Ablaye Cissoko who is one of the founders of the festival and still uses his Kora to speak the language of jazz said they have already invested a lot of money into organizing the event, and had a last minute disappointment. He said lots of reservations have already been made by tourist to attend the event adding that the cancellation will surely affect business.
Saint-Louis, or Ndar as it is called in Wolof, located in the northwest of Senegal, near the mouth of the Senegal River and 320 km north of Senegal's capital, Dakar, was the capital of the French colony of Senegal from 1673 until 1902 and French West Africa from 1895 until 1902, when the capital was moved to Dakar.