The opponent Ousmane Sonko, engaged for two years in a showdown with the power for the presidential election of 2024, is "nowhere to be found" Sunday night, said in a statement his party Pastef. Ousmane Sonko, declared presidential candidate but threatened with ineligibility by legal cases that he denounces as a plot of the state, has not given any public news since Sunday morning.
Ousmane Sonko and his convoy. MUHAMADOU BITTAYE / AFP
He undertook a return march to Dakar in the south of the country on Friday. The convoy drew crowds of enthusiastic young supporters and was marred by clashes between youths and security forces, in which one man was killed. While Ousmane Sonko readily documents his actions live on social networks and did the same the first two days of his trip, he did not post anything on this one Sunday.
His arrest sparked riots
President Ousmane Sonko has not been found and unreachable for several hours," his party said in a statement. The party reserves the right "to react to any attack on his physical integrity, imprisonment or house arrest". Several government officials and Ousmane Sonko's lawyers, questioned by AFP about his situation and possible arrest, did not respond.
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The mobilization of Ousmane Sonko's supporters around him has regularly given rise to incidents and unrest. In 2021, he was arrested in Dakar while he was going in procession to the summons of a judge in a rape case. His arrest had helped trigger several days of riots that 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 1 June. He refused to appear, shouting the plot of the power to remove him from the presidential election. In addition to a possible conviction, he risks the loss of his eligibility.
Entrenched in the South, he intended to make his return to Dakar a show of force. Government spokesman Abdou Karim Fofana said Saturday night on TV5 Monde that such processions were legally subject to a request for prior authorization, absent according to him. He accused Ousmane Sonko of using the street to evade justice. "The State of Senegal will be firm, no one will be allowed to disturb public order," he warned.