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Nigeria and Senegal make basketball history

Nick Cavell

BBC Africa Sport

Senegal's shooting guard Oumoul Thiam blocks her opponent

Nigeria and Senegal's women's basketball teams are celebrating today after creating history on Sunday at the Basketball World Cup on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

The two sides became the first African teams to ever win group games at the World Cup, formerly the World Championships.

First Senegal beat Latvia 70-69 and then a few hours later Nigeria beat Turkey 74-68.

Both sides had lost their opening games on Saturday, with Senegal beaten 87-67 by reigning champions USA while Nigeria lost 86-68 to Australia.

African national teams have been playing at the global finals since 1974.

Nigeria lost all five of their matches at their only other appearance in the finals in 2006.

Senegal have been to the global showpiece on seven occasions and have only ever won in matches to decide the minor placings – they were the first team to win a match in 1990, when they beat Malaysia and then Zaire to decide the 13th to 16th places at the 16-team tournament.

Outrage and joy after verdicts in Senegal terror trial

Senegalese Muslims gather to perform Eid al-Fitr prayer in Dakar, Senegal on June 15, 201
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Most Senegalese Muslims practise a tolerate version of Islam

The lawyer for the man sentenced to 20 years in prison on terrorism-related charges in Senegal says he will appeal against the ruling.

Alassane Cisse said he was "outraged" by the sentence given to Makhtar Diokhane, in the biggest mass trial of suspected militant Islamists in the Muslim-majority state known for upholding a moderate version of Islam.

"I will immediately appeal this ruling. I have no intention of letting Matar Diokhane stay in prison for 20 years," Mr Cisse added.

Prominent lmam Alioune Ndao was acquitted on charges of being a financier of "terrorism", but was given a suspended prison sentence for illegally possessing weapons.

Welcoming the ruling, his lawyer Moussa Sarr said:

It's a fight we have been fighting for three years. We fought it before the court. We also fought a media battle to protect the dignity of Imam Ndao, who is a role model for this country.

He should be an inspiration for a lot of religious leaders. So, we thank God and, in spite of all the difficulties we have met, we are proud of our justice today."

See earlier post for more details

Senegal jihad 'ringleader' jailed for 20 years

People cross the street in front of the Great Mosque in Touba, the holy city of Mouridism, 01 November 2007
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Most Muslims in Senegal follow a moderate version of Islam

The man regarded as the ringleader of a militant Islamist cell in Senegal has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in the capital Dakar, following the biggest trial of suspected jihadists in the West African state.

Makhtar Diokhane was described in court as the brains behind a cell which sent boys to Nigeria, Mali and Libya to receive training from militants.

The main accused - Alioune Badara Ndao, who is a prominent imam in Kaolack city in central Senegal - was acquitted of being an "apologist" and financier of "terrorism" but was given a suspended one-month prison sentence for illegally possessing weapons, reports BBC Afrique's Khady Lo from Dakar.

Fourteen other suspects were acquitted.

Mainly Muslim Senegal has never been attacked by militant Islamists, and follows a moderate version of Sufi Islam. Sufi sects wield enormous influence in society.

However, government officials have in recent years expressed concern that militant Islamists were trying to gain a foothold in the country.

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