Student killed in Senegal at Friday’s vote delay protests -ministry

By Thomson Reuters Feb 10, 2024 | 3:01 AM

DAKAR (Reuters) – A student was killed in the Senegalese city of Saint-Louis amid Friday’s violent protests against the postponement of the presidential election, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

Clashes between security forces and protesters gripped Senegal’s capital and other cities on Friday, the first widespread unrest over the delay of a vote that many fear could lead to protracted instability.

In a statement, the ministry said it had been informed of the death of student Alpha Yero Tounkara and that it would be investigated, but denied its forces were to blame.

“The Defence and Security Forces did not intervene to maintain order on the university campus where the death occurred,” it said.

It was not immediately clear if protests would continue on Saturday. Further violent stand-offs with security forces will add to fears of democratic retreat.

Less than three weeks before the Feb. 25 presidential vote, parliament voted to push it back to December, sealing an extension of President Macky Sall’s mandate, which has raised concerns that one of the remaining democracies in coup-hit West Africa is under threat.

Sall, who has reached his constitutional limit of two terms, said he delayed the vote due to disputes that he said threatened the credibility of the electoral process, but some of the opposition have denounced the move as an “institutional coup.”

(Reporting by Bate Felix; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Toby Chopra)