Ousmane Sonko, declared presidential candidate of Senegal, had not given any news since Sunday morning. His party then declared him “untraceable”. The authorities have indicated that the opponent was arrested in the south of the country by the police who brought him back to Dakar.
This is the end of the concern for the supporters of Ousmane Sonko, the opponent who was missing for several hours, Sunday May 28.
Senegalese security forces abruptly ended his march across the country by arresting him in the south and forcibly bringing him back to Dakar, authorities said.
Interior Minister Antoine Diome cited clashes between supporters of Ousmane Sonko and the police who have accompanied the opponent’s return to Dakar since Friday by road.
“There was a death in Kolda, will the state stand idly by (…) The answer can only be negative,” the minister said on public television.
He argued that Ousmane Sonko should have applied for prior authorization before organizing what he called a “freedom caravan”.
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“We were therefore able to supervise the leader of the (party) Pastef (Mr. Sonko) to his home (in Dakar) where he was dropped off,” he said. A source close to the authorities specified that Ousmane Sonko had been arrested near Koungheul by the gendarmes and brought back by them to the capital.
The interior minister reported that weapons were found in the vehicle carrying Ousmane Sonko.
No news for several hours
The opponent, engaged for two years in a showdown with the power for the presidential election of 2024, undertook, Friday, in the south of the country a return march to Dakar which he intended to make a show of force.
While Ousmane Sonko willingly documents his actions live on social networks and did the same for the first two days of his trip, he had stopped doing so on Sunday. His party then declared him “untraceable and unreachable”.
The fate of the opponent had given rise to speculation for several hours.
The mobilization of Ousmane Sonko’s supporters around him has regularly given rise to incidents and unrest.
In 2021, he was arrested in Dakar as he went in procession to the summons of a judge in a rape case. His arrest had helped trigger several days of riots that had left at least a dozen dead.
A criminal chamber is due to deliver a long-awaited verdict against him in the same case of alleged rape on June 1. He refused to appear, crying out for the conspiracy of power to remove him from the presidential election. In addition to a possible conviction, he risks the loss of his eligibility.
Source: France 24