Spain and Senegal cooperating over alleged rapes: ministers
Senegal and Spain are in close contact over the case of four Spanish tourists robbed and allegedly raped last month in Senegal's restive Casamance region, their interior ministers said Tuesday.
Three women were dragged into a forest and raped after their vehicle was stopped on January 25 near the village of Karonge, around 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the regional capital Ziguinchor, according to police.
The group were also robbed of some 5,000 euros worth of local currency before they were finally released.
"I am in touch with the Spanish embassy and the minister has told me investigations are under way and will soon be completed," Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said after talks in Dakar with Senegalese counterpart Aly Ngouille Ndiaye.
Zoido added he had been keeping a close eye on developments from the outset.
"We are awaiting the conclusions of the investigation," said Ndiaye, adding two of the rape victims had returned home and the third remained on vacation in Senegal.
Three days after the attack, Ndiaye had in a radio interview expressed doubts on the assault after only one woman agreed to a medical examination and that in her case there was "no trace of rape."
He added that no jewellery or watches were stolen in the attack despite cash being taken.
The Spanish foreign ministry had earlier indicated it would not comment until the victims had "themselves explained" what had happened near the small town of Diouloulou.
The attack in the restive region came three weeks after 14 young men were executed in a protected forest, reigniting debate over rebel and criminal groups. Ndiaye on Tuesday dubbed them "enemies of peace" -- operating in the area.
The bloodbath -- which comes at a delicate time for peace talks for Casamance -- caused some to blame a group that has led a 35-year armed campaign for the region's independence.