No breaking ranks for Senegal's army couples

DAKAR Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:08am EST

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DAKAR (Reuters) - Senegal's army officers can no longer wed colleagues below their pay grade. That's the message sent to military personnel via a presidential decree signed in late October.

Women were first authorized to join the ranks of Senegal's famously disciplined army in 2008.

"The army is different from other professions. The army means discipline and we need to preserve that," army spokesman Abou Thiam said.

Unlike the armies of many of its West African neighbors, Senegal's military has never been involved in a coup plot and has won U.N. praise for its role in global peacekeeping.

The ban has provoked surprise among local commentators.

"In other armies a general can wed someone from a much lower rank, why is our army different?" asked columnist Madiambal Diagne in the newspaper Le Quotidien.

(Reporting By Diadie Ba; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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