DAKAR, Senegal ”” In a city where nightclubs and mosques coexist peacefully, Islamist violence long felt like a foreign problem ”” something residents watched on news clips from the Middle East or other parts of ÂAfrica.
“We just didn’t worry very much about it,” said Abdullaye Diene, the deputy imam of the country’s largest mosque. “Here you can spend your nights drinking at the disco and then shake the hand of the imam.”
But Senegal and its neighbors are facing a new threat from extremists moving far from their traditional strongholds in northwest Africa. Since November, militant groups have killed dozens of people in assaults on hotels, cafes and a beachside resort in West Africa, passing through porous borders with impunity.