Senegal: Tensions Rise While Awaiting Ousmane Sonko Verdict

Security forces interrupted opponent Ousmane Sonko's "freedom caravan" and took him to his home in Dakar, the media said on Sunday evening.
30 May 2023

Dakar — The court is expected to rule on the rape case against Senegal opposition leader Ousmane Sonko. In the meantime, tension is rising in Dakar, where security forces reportedly interrupted Sonko's "freedom caravan" and escorted him to his Dakar home, Interior Minister Antoine Diome said on Sunday evening.

Ousmane Sonko, after several days in Ziguinchor (south), intended to organize a "caravan of freedom", a series of rallies, on the way to Dakar. "When the vehicle he was in was checked, he was in the company of other people. We have discovered weapons, slingshots […] which can be used in demonstrations against the security forces," Diome said. He also said that Sonko "was not arrested".

Diome also confirmed one death during a rally held in Kolda (south) by Sonko and his supporters. "You have all heard the leader of Pastef declare from Ziguinchor that he will make a caravan during which rallies will be organized. During the first stage, there was one death […] in Kolda," said Diome. "For the progress of the "caravan of freedom" of the leader of the opposition, it was necessary that he gets permission from the administrative authorities."

The leader of the Alliance of Progressive Forces (AFP) and former deputy Zator Mbaye were also victims. Mbaye was attacked and his car torched by unidentified individuals. It is becoming recurrent these days as the Minister of Sanitation and Water mSerigne Mbaye Thiam, had also suffered the same fate.

The car of the former deputy and current minister-counsellor, Zator Mbaye, caught fire in the night on Monday around 3am.  Leader of Moustapha Niass and member of the Benno coalition, reached by telephone by the Dakaractu editorial staff, confirmed the information before and confirmed there will be prosecutions.

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