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Published On: Tue, Feb 6th, 2024

Former Senegalese Prime Minister Aminata Touré Arrested and Later Released

Aminata Touré, former prime minister of Senegal and now a leading opposition figure, was arrested on Sunday 4th February 2024, in Dakar amid protests by Senegalese after the vague postponement of the presidential election. Chaos have emerged in the capital city as hundreds of Senegalese nationals took to the streets over the delay of election and clashed with the police but was later released today. 

The former prime minister confirmed that she had been detained and taken to a police station as she got out of her vehicle and called the incumbent president’s postponement an “unprecedented democratic regression” without a clear explanation being provided to her as to the reasons for her arrest.

According to the AFP report Hundreds of opposition party supporters and police clashed after Senegalese President Macky Sall announced an indefinite postponement of their presidential election set for February 25, a day before official campaigning was due to begin as he Sall, on Saturday cited a dispute between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court over the rejection of candidates as the reason for his intervention.

Amid the postponement of Senegal’s Election around 200 protesters took to the streets waving Senegal’s flag and some wearing the jersey of the national football team early afternoon and blocked traffic on one of Dakar’s main streets as Some burned tires and threw stones at the police.

This prompted a riot in which police fired tear gas into the crowd and detained some of the protesters. At least two opposition presidential candidates were reportedly detained by security forces.

Touré was appointed as prime minister by Macky Sall before joining the opposition. Meanwhile, in an online post, candidate Daouda Ndiaye claim that he was attacked by police officers.

Further protests are expected outside parliament today. Notably, Senegal has never delayed a presidential vote.

 The announcement has plunged the country, once known as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies, into chaos and Ecowas has also expressed concern and called for a new date to be set quickly France, on Sunday, also called on the Senegalese president to end the “uncertainty” created and called for a vote “as soon as possible”.

 French foreign ministry, in a statement said, “We call on authorities to end the uncertainty about the electoral calendar so the vote can be held as soon as possible, under the rules of Senegalese democracy,”

The European Union spokesperson Nabila Massrali made a similar call and said that the 27-nation bloc calls on “all actors to work…for the staging of a transparent, inclusive and credible election as soon as possible.”

In a post on X the US State Department urged Senegal to “swiftly” set a date for a “timely, free and fair election adding that: “We acknowledge allegations of irregularities, but we are deeply concerned about the disruption to the presidential electoral calendar.”

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