Death Of Teenager Takes Senegal Protest Toll To Three

A 16-year-old died in confrontations in Senegal’s Ziguinchor, the third person killed in unrest since President Macky Sall postponed this month’s poll, a hospital source and a local leader said Sunday.

Sall’s decision to postpone the February 25 presidential election has pushed Senegal into one of its most serious crises since gaining independence from France in 1960.

Protests pitting youngsters against security personnel have become increasingly violent in a country seen as a bastion of peace and democracy in West Africa, a region riven by coups and upheaval.

Landing Camara, also known as Diedhiou, died Saturday evening in hospital after being wounded in Ziguinchor. His identification papers indicated that he was 16, despite the hospital source stating that he was 19.

The southern city is a stronghold of jailed opposition chieftain Ousmane Sonko, and teenagers and security personnel clashed all day.

The teenager “took a projectile to the head and died of his injuries in intensive care,” according to a hospital source in Ziguinchor who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

“There were several critically injured people during the protests, and one died. He was shot in the head by a bullet,” claimed Abdou Sane, Ziguinchor’s opposition party Pastef coordinator.

Since Friday, two other young people have died as a result of protests in Dakar, the capital, and Saint-Louis, in the north.

A 23-year-old man was shot “in the stomach with a live round” in Dakar, according to his brother.

The facts surrounding the death of a 22-year-old on a university campus in Saint-Louis remain unknown.

Calls to restore election date

The Saint-Louis prosecutor’s office stated it has launched an investigation into the tragedy. The interior ministry issued a statement denying that security forces were active on campus.

The US Bureau of African Affairs expressed condolences to the victims’ relatives and friends via social media.

“I’m saddened to learn of two lives lost,” it wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“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.”

The European Union, for its part, urged Senegal’s authorities to “guarantee fundamental freedoms” following the latest fatality, according to the bloc’s foreign affairs and security policy spokesperson Nabila Massrali on X, formerly Twitter.

Sall claimed he postponed the election due to a disagreement between parliament and the Constitutional Council regarding potential candidates forbidden from competing.

He has stated that he wants to begin a process of “appeasement and reconciliation” and has repeated his decision not to run for a third term, despite international criticism.

Senegal’s parliament supported the action on Monday, voting to retain Sall in office until his successor takes over, which is unlikely to happen before early 2025. His second term had been scheduled to finish on April 2.

Campaigners from the Aar Sunu Election Group (Protect Our Election) have called for new protests on Tuesday.

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