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Senegal: Sonko denounces an "assassination attempt with poison gas"

Senegalese's opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, charged with rape, talks to media at his party's headquarters in Dakar on March 8, 2021.   -  
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Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko maintains he survived what he calls an assassination attempt.

Speaking to the press Monday Sonko said a foreign laboratory analysed the substance sprayed in on him last March and concluded it was "toxic and lethal."

"There was an assassination attempt," he started. "I did not say murder, because legally the difference between murder and assassination is preparation, premeditation even. I consider what happened to have been premeditated."

"We were sprayed with this product in a confined space as stated in the document, that is, in a closed car, the objective that was sought was to assassinate us. And those who did it were all wearing masks, we were not. That is why we will handle this case as it should be. The lawyers have practically completed the necessary steps today and we will file them at the beginning of this week."

The PASTEF party leader said mid-March that he felt unwell after being tear gased by the police during a forced transfer to the Dakar court where he was to appear.

The opposition leader had said after the incident that he spent five days in a private clinic in Dakar for treatment, and that samples had been taken from his clothes and sent abroad "for toxicological expertise."

Last month Senegalese government spokesman, Trade Minister Abdou Karim Fofana, denied Sonko's accusation that police had been involved.

Sonko insisted Monday (May 1st) that a judge could write to the facilities for the findings.

He also called for national civil disobedience against the judiciary that he considers partial and further rejected any dialogue against President Macky Sall.

Sonko who came third in Senegal's presidential election in 2019 is vying for next year's election.

However, the journey to get there hasn't been smooth, he has had several brushes with the law and was accused of rape by an employee of salon where he went for a massage. That trial is due to begin on May 16.

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