Nine people were killed Thursday in Senegal in violence that erupted after the two-year prison sentence of opponent Ousmane Sonko, declared presidential candidate in February 2024, an official source said.
“We noted with regret violence that led to the destruction of public and private property and, unfortunately, nine deaths in Dakar and Ziguinchor” (south), said the Senegalese Minister of the Interior, Antoine Diome, in a point press overnight from Thursday to Friday.
The minister announced in the presence of government spokesperson Abdou Karim Fofana and communication minister Moussa Bocar Thiam that the Senegalese authorities had restricted access to social networks, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.
“Having observed the dissemination of hateful and subversive messages on social networks, the State of Senegal in all sovereignty has decided to temporarily suspend the use of certain digital applications”, explained Dione.
The minister also called for calm and assured that the state was taking “all the necessary security measures”.
Diome also invited the traditional media not to “broadcast hate messages”.
“We remind the media of the importance of respecting the Press Code, which allows the administrative authority to prevent or put an end to any attack on State security or the integrity of the national territory”, warned the Minister of the Interior.
Ousmane Sonko, who came third in the 2019 presidential election and declared a presidential candidate in 2024, was sentenced Thursday by the Dakar court to two years in prison for “youth corruption”.
He was accused of rape and death threats against an employee of a beauty salon where he was going to have a massage between 2020 and 2021. The criminal court chamber acquitted Sonko of the charges of rape and death threats.
Following this verdict, unrest and clashes between supporters of Sonko and the police broke out in Dakar and in several cities of the country.
Cheikh Anta Diop UCAD University in Dakar has taken on the air of a battlefield. Groups of young people threw stones at the police who responded with tear gas.
Several buses from the Faculty of Medicine, the Department of History and the country’s main school of journalism were set on fire and offices ransacked. The Rector has decided following these acts to suspend classes from this Friday until further notice.
Apart from these hotbeds of violence, the streets of the capital Dakar have been deserted and businesses closed.
‘Clashes and looting of public property, shops and petrol stations have been reported in Dakar and its suburbs, as well as ‘in Ziguinchor (south), Mbour and Kaolack (west) or Saint-Louis (north).