Dakar Rally cancelled over security fears

This year’s Dakar Rally has been cancelled over security concerns, in particular direct ”terrorist” threats to the race, organisers announced on Friday.

The race had been due to start in Lisbon on Saturday but the murder of four French tourists in Mauritania on December 24 led to the French government advising against any travel to the country.

Nine of the rally’s stages were due to pass through Mauritania en route for Dakar and the scheduled finish on January 20.

”Following several consultations with the French government — in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs — and taking into account its firm recommendations, the organisers of the Dakar have taken the decision to cancel the 2008 edition of the rally scheduled for January 5 to 20 between Lisbon and the Senegalese capital,” the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) said in a statement.

The ASO said there had been ”direct threats against the race issued by terrorist groups”.

It was the first time in its 30-year history that the controversial race has failed to go ahead and will cast doubts over future editions. — AFP



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