• World - Africa
  • Updated: May 18, 2023

School Suspended In Senegal Amid Trial Of Opposition Leader

School Suspended In Senegal Amid Trial Of Opposition Leader

Ousmane Sonko, Senegal Opposition Leader.

Senegalese authorities have decided to suspend school for almost a week in the region of Ziguinchor (south), the scene of clashes around the rape trial of opponent Ousmane Sonko.

“Courses are suspended throughout the region in schools, establishments, and vocational training centres” from Friday inclusive to May 25 at 8 a.m., indicates a document from the educational authorities published on social networks and authenticated by AFP with the ministry on Thursday.

This period covers a new appearance of Sonko in court, scheduled for May 23 and likely to cause new tensions.

Because Thursday is a public holiday and lessons were postponed on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday due to the disturbance, Ziguinchor learners will be out of class for nearly two weeks.

Sonko's hometown of Ziguinchor, where he has retired for many days, was rocked by clashes between Sonko loyalists and police on Monday and Tuesday. 

The young people were protesting Sonko's trial, which began on Tuesday in Dakar and planned to blockade his residence to prevent a possible police intervention to haul him before the court by force.

Unrest also occurred in Dakar and other cities. The authorities confirmed three deaths, but no link to the unrest was established.

The trial has been rescheduled until May 23. The issue of Sonko's presence and possibly compulsion by the court remains unresolved. 

Sonko, president of the Pastef-les Patriotes party and third in the 2019 presidential election has always maintained his innocence and cried out at the power scheme to remove him from the 2024 presidential race.

He said he would no longer answer court summonses.

He has been silent for the previous week and has been virtually unnoticed by the public amid the clashes. 

According to reports, He left his house late Wednesday afternoon, taking a stroll among his enthusiastic supporters. 

He is scheduled to appear before a criminal tribunal in Dakar on May 23 to answer for rape and murder threats against a beauty salon employee in the capital. 

His lawyers said they would advise him to attend.

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