Senegal: Pan African politician, Ousman Sonko arrested – chaos, deaths, restriction of internet follows
Senegal is faced with an unprecedented wave of violence across the country following the arrest of popular Pan African youth politician, Ousman Sonko over a controversial rape allegation. Many in Senegal consider the rape allegation against Sonko to be politically motivated
The arrest on Wednesday has triggered what is now three days of continuous clashes in several towns in Senegal. Protesters are demanding the release of Sonko.
One person was killed in clashes on Thursday in Bignona town, in the southern Casamance region, officials confirmed. Though without official confirmation, six other deaths are being reported by the media today.
The judge who was initially assigned to handle the case has excused himself from hearing the case without any explanation.
Amnesty International has called on the government of Senegal to end the arbitrary arrest of political opponents and protesters.
Ousman Sonko is the leader of the opposition PASTEF party and former presidential candidate in the 2019 election in Senegal. The Pan African anti-imperialism political advocate is currently viewed as the only genuine political force left in the opposition in Senegal to face incumbent Macky who is rumored to be interested in a third term bid. In his first presidential contest, in the 2019 election, the 46 years old former tax official finished third, which saw President Macky Sall win a second term in office.
Read more here: France and Senegal: Why Ousman Sonko Matters
The government of Macky Sall has initially quickly rushed to arrest Sonko but was met with strong public resistance with many, including Sonko himself reproving President Macky Sall of seeking to eliminate him politically. However, following the provocative lifting of his parliamentary immunity at the end of last week, Sonko was yesterday arrested after answering to the police to face a judge in the Dakar courthouse. Conversely, with continued protest across the country, the hearing had been postponed to today, Friday. Reports are emerging that the legal team of Sonko has been denied access to him.
The Senegalese regulatory authorities on Thursday suspended the signal of two popular television channels, Sen TV and Walf TV. Observers in Senegal have noted that the Internet connection has been marked by several restrictions..
President Macky Sall has since the ascension to power, successfully eliminated all opponents that he considers to be of a major political threat to him.
In what many consider the final knock on the opposition, President Sall appointed Idrissa Seck, the candidate former who came second in the 2019 presidential election, to serve as President of the Social Economic and Environmental Council (CESE). CESE is third in the national institutional ranking in Senegal