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Senegal: Ziguinchor students fear disruption to education

Chérif is a student in his last year of high school in Zinguinchor on May 22, 2023. Senegalese opposition figure Sonko heads the city. His trials have sparked unrest.   -  
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Cleared / AFP


Senegalese students from the town of Ziguinchor fear falling behind on their education as their mayor, Ousmane Sonko, tried for rape earlier this week, has called upon the youth to storm the capital in protest of the trial’s verdict.

Schools in the town had been closed from Friday to Thursday.

"The exam is scheduled for July 4th, and it is now May, almost at the end of the month, we do not even know if the State will push the exam or not. If it maintains this, it will be a catastrophe for us Ziguinchor residents because we are not at the same level with the schools in Dakar or Thiès. When we are on strike, when we went out, when we stayed home, they were studying," explained Chérif Samsidine Aidara, student in his last year of high school.

Students at Djignabo Bassene High School have already missed more than a fortnight of classes since the beginning of the year.

A dire situation for the ones that need a particular framework to perform as their counterparts.

"I have a hard time understanding the classes in the right conditions even when I am with my teacher or when I am with my classmates. But now I have to manage, do exercises, or repeat the ones I did in class and revise my lessons to not fall behind," added Chérif Samsidine Aidara.

The decision to close the schools is regretted by Aminata Touré, former Prime Minister and ex-president of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council but it was necessary to ensure student's safety.

"We lost almost a week and it’s really pathetic but it’s normal that we stop classes, I’m for that, because we are simply not safe. Every time there are demonstrations, we are taken out. The high school, you know it, recently, we have been victims of vandalism," shared Amadou Guissé, professor of History and Geography in Ziguinchor.

Ziguinchor was plagued Monday and Tuesday by clashes between young supporters of the opponent and the police.

The political tug-of-war opposing Ousmane Sonko and Macky Sall has been making headlines since 2021, causing sporadic unrest in the west African nation.

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