Senegal death toll hits 15 after six more die in clashes

Senegal protests

 A car set ablaze by demonstrators is pictured in Dakar, on June 1, 2023 during a protest. 

Photo credit: John Wessels | AFP

Dakar, Senegal  

Six more people have died in clashes between police and opposition supporters in Senegal taking the toll to 15, the government said Saturday as tensions remained high.

The violence left nine dead on Thursday, after popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was sentenced to two years in jail for "corrupting" a young woman after being acquitted on rape charges.

Government spokesperson Maham Ka told AFP that on Friday evening another four deaths were recorded in the capital Dakar and its suburbs as well as two in Ziguinchor.

Public and private property, banks and shops, were ransacked as groups of protesting youngsters confronted security forces.

Burned-out cars, tyres and debris-strewn streets bore testimony to another night of violence.

The interior ministry reported no further violence by early Saturday afternoon, with the army still deployed to back up large numbers of police.

Sonko, who was tried in absentia having alleged the government cooked up the charges to stop him running for president again next year, has yet to be taken into custody to serve his jail term, which is likely to cause further tensions

He is presumed to remain in his Dakar home, where he has been blocked in by security forces since the weekend and alleges he is being "illegally held".