• World - Africa
  • Updated: June 03, 2023

Death Toll Rises As Tensions Persist In Senegal

Death Toll Rises As Tensions Persist In Senegal

Death Toll Rises To 15 As Tensions Persist In Senegal

Tensions remained high in Senegal on Saturday after fresh overnight clashes brought the death toll to 15 in the two days since a court convicted opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.

Sonko's ongoing legal problems have sparked rare outbreaks of violence in Senegal, a typically stable West African country, and foreign allies have urged a return to calm.

Sonko, a 48-year-old former tax inspector, was charged with rape but was found guilty on a lesser charge of morally "corrupting" a young woman and sentenced to two years in prison.

He claims the charges were brought against him to derail his political career ahead of the presidential election next year.

His conviction may disqualify him from running in the 2024 election.

Clashes between Sonko supporters and police ensued following the ruling on Thursday, killing nine people.

Businesses and shops were looted.

The army was deployed to the streets, but new clashes erupted on Friday night in Dakar and Ziguinchor.

They killed six more people, according to government spokesman Maham Ka.

Burned-out cars, tyres, and debris-strewn streets bore witness to yet another night of carnage.

The government has admitted to restricting access to social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter to prevent the "dissemination of hateful and subversive messages."

According to government spokesman Abdou Karim Fofana, the violence was not fueled by "political demands," but by "acts of vandalism and banditry."

"These are difficult times for the Senegalese nation that we will overcome," he told media houses.

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