Senegal vows to prosecute perpetrators as protests over rape allegation escalate

EYEAFRICA TV: Dakar, SENEGAL:- The government of Senegal has vowed to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators and their accomplices as the protest over the rape allegations against Ousmane Sonko escalate.

“The Government strongly condemns acts of violence, looting and destruction of public and private property and expresses its solidarity with the natural and legal persons affected by these acts, whose instigators, perpetrators and accomplices will be sought and prosecuted in accordance with the law,” Oumar Gueye, spokesperson for the Ministery of Territorial Communities, Development and Lands said on Thursday.

Gueye said the government will continue to take all “necessary measures to maintain public order in accordance with the laws and regulations in force.”

Protest erupted across Senegal following the arrest of an opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on Wednesday.

Ousmane Sonko who faces a rape allegation, appeared in court on Friday accused of disrupting public order. He denies the allegations and his supporters say the accusations are politically motivated.

Some of the protesters have targeted French-owned businesses such as supermarkets and petrol stations because they say that under President Macky Sall, France has extended its economic interests in its former colony.

Senegal’s government condemned the protests as a “flagrant violation” of the state of emergency put in place to tackle coronavirus.

Government’s crackdown on demonstrators led to the death of a man in the person of Cheikh Ibrahima COLY.

“The government offers its condolences and expresses its compassion to the family of the victim,” the statement said, adding that an investigation was launched to determine the circumstances of his death.

The government warns against the tendentious coverage of events by certain media, likely to stir up hatred and violence.

The government also suspended two private TV channels that covered the protests for 72 hours, saying they could “likely to stir up hatred and violence.”

NetBlocks, an internet monitor said on Thursday that access to social media and messaging apps were restricted.

The United Nations’ special envoy for West Africa Mohamed Ibn Chambas has appealed for calm.

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