Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Modi meets Trump: The ties that bind US and India leaders

Read more

FOCUS

Left-wing activism on the rise in the United States

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

'Huge failure' on refugee crisis is 'existential problem for EU'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Divisions over migration policy: What should the EU do?

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

A trip through France's breathtaking Auvergne region

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

When Modi met Trump: Budding romance or one-night stand?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

How to counter Islamic State group propaganda?

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Coal power plant in Senegal worries residents; and the Venezuelan TV show... in a bus

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Italian government bails out two regional banks

Read more

Senegal declares 3 days of mourning as fire death toll rises

© AFP/File | President Macky Sall, pictured in March 2017, visited the site of the fire that killed at least 25 people at a Muslim religious retreat in Senegal

DAKAR (AFP) - 

Senegal announced three days of mourning on Friday for the victims of a massive fire at a Muslim religious retreat this week, as the death toll from the catastrophe rose to 25.

The blaze broke out on Wednesday afternoon as worshippers belonging to the Tijaniyya Muslim group gathered near the town of Medina Gounass in southeastern Senegal, engulfing straw shelters erected for the pilgrims.

President Macky Sall visited the site on Friday and confirmed that Gambians and Mauritanians were also among the victims in footage broadcast on Senegal's RTS television.

"Taking account of the number of victims, as this morning another has passed away, we now have 25 dead and I have decided to announce today three days of national mourning, with flags flying at half-mast," Sall said.

Senegalese media reported Friday that police suspect a gas canister exploded as the pilgrims prepared tea at the retreat site.

Members of the powerful Tijaniyya Muslim brotherhood gather in their thousands to worship at the site every year. Pilgrims were weighed down with food and luggage, local media reported.

Around 95 percent of Senegal's population is Muslim and most men join Sufi brotherhoods that combine Islam with distinctive local beliefs.

© 2017 AFP