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Senegal: Graves desecrated in Christian cemeteries

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October 11, 2012 11:49 AM EST | AP

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DAKAR, Senegal — Roman Catholic church officials say nearly 160 graves have been desecrated in the two largest Christian cemeteries in Senegal's capital.

The Rev. Roger Gomis, head of communications for the archdiocese of Dakar, said Thursday that crucifixes had been torn off of gravestones in Christian cemeteries.

The church said the vandalism had taken place over the last several months.

Vandals took crucifixes, statuettes and other pieces made of bronze without touching those made of iron or aluminum.

Sebastien Diatta, whose mother's grave was among those desecrated, said Thursday that the government must launch an investigation and stop the vandals.

Senegal is a predominantly Muslim country in western Africa where Muslims and Christians coexist peacefully.