Senegal: Government Looks Into Deadly Unrest

The Government of Senegal on Thursday set to investigate the deadly violence in March which soiled the country’s reputation as a haven of stability in West Africa. The investigation is expected to be carried out by an “independent and impartial” commission

According to the Armed Forces Minister Sidiki Kaba, the investigators would “re-establish the facts, part of the truth.”

The arrest and accusation of rape against opposition figure Usmane Sonko, a leading rival to President Macky Sall, led to the riots and lootings in the country

Sonko, who has a strong support among young Senegalese, denies the allegations, describing them as plot to knock his 2024 presidential bid off course.

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About five people were killed in the worst unrest in years, while the opposition says at least 13 died and the authorities are to blame for it.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have denounced what they describe as excessive force and use of live rounds, or the use of unidentified agents to support the security forces.

Minister Sidiki Kaba hit out at accounts suggesting that the entire responsibility for all the facts, the dead, the wounded, and the looting, lies with the government of Senegal.

He noted that President Sall had given orders not to fire on demonstrators, and the security forces had shown restraint, calm and professionalism — without which there would have had a bloodbath.

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The commission would be open to the opposition and civil society, he added but gave no further details or the timetable for its work.

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