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Third death as Senegal braces for more protests against election delay

By RFI
Senegal  AFP  GUY PETERSON
FEB 11, 2024 LISTEN
© AFP / GUY PETERSON

A third death was reported in Senegal on Sunday, where people have been protesting against the president's decision to push back an election that would have chosen his successor. Sporadic demonstrations continued through the weekend, ahead of a call for nationwide protests early next week.

The latest casualty was 16-year-old Landing Camara, who died following clashes in the south-western city of Ziguinchor, according to reports.

The teenager "took a projectile to the head and died of his injuries in intensive care" on Saturday evening, a hospital source told French news agency AFP.

A member of the local branch of the popular Pastef opposition party, Abdou Sane, told AFP that several people had been seriously wounded in the protests.

It comes after two other young men were fatally injured in protests on Friday, the biggest day of national mobilisation since President Macky Sall called off the planned election last weekend. 

The vote, which he was not eligible to run in, was supposed to take place on 25 February but has now been postponed until 15 December.

Hundreds of arrests

Demonstrations pitting young protesters against the security forces are turning increasingly violent.

One man died in the capital, Dakar, and another was killed on a university campus in the northern city of Saint-Louis.

The Senegal branch of Amnesty International said it had received reports of more than 200 arrests across the country during Friday's protests, while several journalists' associations reported violence against reporters covering the events.

Most Senegalese cities remained calm on Saturday but spontaneous demonstrations continued in Ziguinchor, a stronghold of jailed opposition figurehead Ousmane Sonko.

Sonko, the candidate for Pastef, is one of several prominent opposition candidates who had been disqualified before the election campaign.

The president, whose second term had been due to end at the beginning of April, claims he postponed the vote because of disputes over whether the exclusions were justified.

International concern

Sall's decision has plunged Senegal into its worst crisis since independence from France in 1960, with West African bloc Ecowas, the European Union and other international bodies expressing serious concern.

The US State Department's Bureau of African Affairs said it was "saddened" by the protest deaths.

"We urge all parties to act in a peaceful and measured manner, and we continue to call on President Sall to restore the electoral calendar, restore confidence, and bring calm to the situation," it wrote in a social media post on Saturday.

Civil society movement Aar Sunu Election ("Let's Protect Our Election") has called for a new round of nationwide protests on Tuesday.

(with AFP)

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