Schoolboy Death Totals Senegal Protest Death To Five As Opposition Steps Up Pressure

A schoolboy was killed during a protest in southern Senegal at the weekend, officials said as several days of unrest in the West African state take the toll to five dead. 

 A security official told AFP people were demonstrating Saturday in the southern town of Diaobe against Wednesday’s arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, when the “situation quickly deteriorated”.

 A schoolboy was killed and six people were seriously injured in clashes, the official said on condition of anonymity.

 Protesters also torched a gendarmerie station, a customs post, and several cars, the security official said.

 A spokesman for Senegal’s gendarmerie, who also declined to be named, confirmed that a boy had been killed and six people injured.

 The incident raises the official death toll in Senegal’s recent unrest — the worst the country has seen in years — to five.

 Clashes between opposition supporters and security forces began on Wednesday after Sonko, 46, was arrested on charges of disturbing public order in the capital Dakar. 

Police arrested him after scuffles with opposition supporters broke out while Sonko was on his way to court to answer to a separate rape charge — which he says is politically motivated.

 The event sparked violent clashes nationwide which continued through Friday before easing off. 

 However, an opposition collective which includes Sonko’s Pastef party on Saturday called for three more days of protests starting from Monday. 

 Sonko, who is considered a challenger to President Macky Sall, is also due back in court on Monday to answer to the rape charge. 

 The rape allegation against him comes amid uncertainty over whether Sall, 59, will seek a third term.

 Senegalese presidents are limited to two consecutive terms, but Sall launched a constitutional review in 2016, raising suspicions he intends to run again.

 Senegal, a former French colony of 16 million people, is often heralded as a beacon of stability in a volatile region.


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