The Senegalese government announced on Tuesday that it had opened an investigation following the broadcasting of videos showing armed men in civilian clothes, accused of violently attacking demonstrators during the unrest that followed the conviction of opposition politician Ousmane Sonko in early June.
"An investigation has been opened into the controversy caused by videos (of armed men in civilian clothes) circulating on social networks in recent days. It will be up to Senegal's justice system to establish the truth", Interior Minister Antoine Félix Abdoulaye Diome told the press.
He was speaking in the presence of Prime Minister Amadou Bâ during a visit to the BRT construction site, a rapid bus project designed to relieve traffic congestion in Dakar, where installations were damaged by demonstrators.
Videos and eyewitness accounts show armed men in civilian clothes in pick-ups chasing demonstrators during the unrest that followed Sonko's conviction.
Pro-Sonko supporters accuse the presidential camp of having paid these "thugs" to assist the police and gendarmes and put down the protesters. The presence of these armed men, reported by many local and international media, has been denounced by human rights activists.
From June 1rst to June 3rd, Senegal was gripped by its worst unrest in years after Mr. Sonko was sentenced to two years in prison in a vice case. The violence left 16 people officially dead, but 23 according to Amnesty International.