A teenage student has become the fifth victim who died in Senegal during protests that followed the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on Wednesday.
The student was killed on Saturday in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the southern city of Diaobe. Protesters had reportedly tried to burn down official buildings in the city.
Mr Sonko who is 46, appeared in court on Friday has been accused of disrupting public order. He’s also facing a rape allegation. He, however, denied the allegations and his supporters said the accusations are politically motivated.
On Friday, following the violence in the capital, Dakar, and elsewhere, Interior Minister Antoine Felix Abdoulaye Diome vowed to use “all the means necessary for a return to order”.
Meanwhile, the West African regional group Ecowas has condemned the violence and called on “all parties to exercise restraint and remain calm” – adding that the authorities should “take the necessary measures to ease tensions and guarantee the freedom to demonstrate peacefully”.
Police said they then arrested him for disrupting public order when he refused to change his route to the court.
Mr Sonko says the allegations of rape are fabricated. He accuses President Macky Sall of trying to remove potential opponents ahead of the 2024 election
There are reports that Mr Sall may seek to change the constitution to allow him to run for a third term.
Ousmane Sonko, 46, is popular among Senegal’s youth
Mr Sonko who is particularly popular with young Senegalese is the president’s only remaining strong challenger.