Dakar — AT LEAST two people have been killed and several others injured as violence grips Senegal ahead of general elections. The bloodbath follows skirmishes in the eastern town of Tambacounda during preparations for the polls set for February 24.
More than 20 people have been arrested for the violence. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), condemned the violence.
He called on the presidential candidates and their activists and supporters to reject the violence and to respect their commitments to ensure the holding of participatory and peaceful elections.
"A dead man is one too many dead," Chambas said.
"Every citizen must be concerned and responsible for the protection of peace and tolerance that is the wealth of the Senegalese people."
The UN envoy urged candidates and their supporters, civil society actors and the authorities to redouble their efforts to call for calm and to restraint, and respect for the values of peace and tolerance.
Senegal's Constitutional Court has authorised five candidates, including incumbent Macky Sall to contest.
Sall, in power since 2012, faces competition from Madické Niang, Issa Sall (not related), Idrissa Seck and Ousmane Sonko.
A candidate must receive over 50 percent of the vote to be elected in the first round. If no candidate crosses the threshold, a second round will be held with the top two candidates.
The opposition has alleged plans to rig the poll.