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Senegal election: Bassirou Diomaye rallies Casamance

Senegal election: Bassirou Diomaye rallies Casamance
Supporters celebrate the release of Senegal's top opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and his key ally Bassirou Diomaye Faye in Dakar, Senegal, Thursday, March 14, 2024   -  
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Sylvain Cherkaoui/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.


A crowd of hundreds welcomed candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye and his mentor Ousmane Sonko to the southwest Senegalese region of Casamance on Sunday.

The return of the two after months in prison brought promises, with Diomaye pledging to make the region's main city Ziguinchor a major economic centre and the town of Sedhiou a cultural capital.

Casamance is Senegal's economic powerhouse but it remains the poorest region, cut off from the rest of the country for a long time because of its reputation for opposition.

Most of its young people are unemployed.

Every morning, 22-year-old Moustapha, who holds a bachelor's degree and is now a motorbike taxi driver, comes to a fishing pier in Ziguinchor to find customers.

He has watched the town fall into desolation and abandonment, but he is thirsty for change and is ready to vote for Bassirou Diomaye Faye.

He is one of thousands of young people who support Diomaye's candidacy.

Moustapha said he was sad to see Ziguinchor abandoned, while Dakar thrived by comparison.

For him, separatist impulses are born out of this frustration.

Here, the campaign has been buzzing around candidate Diomaye Faye ever since he was chosen by the Constitutional Council.

The youth co-ordination in this part of the country says it began raising awareness of Diomaye Faye's vote well before the campaign began two months ago.

His campaign organisers have vowed to prevent anyone stealing the election.

“We will never accept the election being stolen, nor will we give anyone the opportunity to do so," said local campaign organiser Seidou Mendiang.

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