The Senegalese authorities have decided to suspend school for almost a week in the region of Ziguinchor (south), the scene of clashes around the rape trial of opponent Ousmane Sonko.
“Courses are suspended throughout the region in schools, establishments, and vocational training centers” from Friday inclusive to May 25 at 8 a.m., indicates a document from the educational authorities published on social networks and authenticated by AFP with of the ministry on Thursday.
This period covers a new appointment of Mr. Sonko with justice, scheduled for May 23 and likely to cause new tensions.
This Thursday being a public holiday and classes having been canceled on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday because of the unrest, the students of Ziguinchor will have been deprived of class for almost two weeks.
Ziguinchor, of which Mr. Sonko is the mayor and where he has retired for several days, was plagued Monday and Tuesday by clashes between young supporters of Mr. Sonko and the police. The young people were protesting against the trial of Mr. Sonko heard Tuesday in Dakar and intended to block around his home a possible police intervention to drag him by force before the court.
Unrest also took place in Dakar and elsewhere. The authorities reported three deaths, without the relationship with the unrest being clearly established.
The trial was adjourned to May 23. The question of the presence of Mr. Sonko and a possible coercion by body remains unresolved.
Mr. Sonko, president of the Pastef-les Patriotes party and third in the presidential election in 2019, has always protested his innocence and shouted at the plot of power to remove him from the presidential election in 2024. He announced that he would no longer respond to court summonses.
He has been silent for the past week and has remained invisible to the public during the clashes. He left his home on Wednesday late afternoon, enjoying a walkabout among his enthusiastic supporters.
He is supposed to appear on May 23 before a criminal chamber in Dakar to answer for rape and death threats against an employee of a beauty salon in the capital. His lawyers said they would advise him to attend.