The death toll following the arrest of opponent Ousmane Sonko rises to 16 victims

The death toll following the arrest of opponent Ousmane Sonko rises to 16 victims

In a new report, the Senegalese Ministry of the Interior announced Sunday that the number of deaths from the violence unleashed on Thursday has risen to 16 people, following the death on Saturday of a person in Dakar.

The toll of arrests remains the same, 500 people were arrested in the riots and violence that broke out following the sentencing of opponent Ousmane Sonko to two years in prison for “youth corruption”, according to figures presented on Saturday by Interior Minister Antoine Diome.

His department said “a marked drop in tension points and arrests, and a return to normalcy in the country”, adding that “a lot of activity resumed last night and this morning with the end of the ban of motorcycle traffic.

Antoine Diome indicated that some of the demonstrators belong to political formations, but the majority do not have partisan affiliation.

Elements of the armed forces and the police are still deployed in certain areas to maintain security.

Spontaneous demonstrations followed Thursday’s sentencing of opponent Ousmane Sonko, declared presidential candidate of 2024, to two years in prison for having pushed a young woman under 21 to “debauchery”. This decision makes him ineligible for the presidential election on February 25th for the time being.

On Saturday evening, clashes broke out in certain localized points in the capital, its suburbs and in the south of the country, but of much less intensity than during the first two days of protest which officially left 15 dead.

Social networks, such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, are still cut, but the Minister of the Interior hinted on Saturday evening that they would be restored when the situation calmed down.

Diome said Senegal has been under attack by “occult forces”. “There is foreign influence and it is the country that is under attack,” he said. “Vital installations for the functioning of the country” were targeted to cause “chaos”, he added, citing in particular the Diender water production plant which produces 12,000 cubic meters of water.

“The demonstrators deliberately attacked sensitive installations in our country”, denounced the minister, speaking of “unheard of violence”.


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