Senegalese anti riot policemen are seen at the entrance of the street leading to the house of the opponent Ousmane Sonko, on June 17, 2022, in Dakar. – Police deployed Friday in Dakar near the home of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who called for defying an official ban on protests the same day, amid growing tension, his party said. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP)
Senegal’s main opposition leader has issued what he called an “ultimatum” to President Macky Sall, urging him to release those arrested during a day of clashes that reportedly left three people dead.
Violence broke out between youths and police in the capital Dakar on Friday, as officers blocked off access to the home of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.
Three opposition figures were also arrested and the city’s mayor was prevented from leaving his home, Sonko’s PASTEF party spokesman said.
Media and the opposition have now reported a third, collateral death from the clashes — a taxi driver shot in Ziguinchor, Casamance.
In a Facebook post late on Friday, Sonko said: “Mr Macky Sall, we give you an ultimatum (to) release all political hostages in your hands; beyond that, we will come and get these political hostages, whatever the cost.”
Sonko accused Sall of being “a murderous president”. Referring to riots that shook Senegal last year, he said: “After having murdered 14 people during the events of February-March 2021, here he is adding three more victims to his list in June 2022”.
The clashes come as the country is in the grip of pre-election tension.
Sonko had called for protests against a decision to bar a list of candidates for Senegal’s legislative elections on July 31.
The move also bans him and other opposition figures from contesting the ballot.