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Senegal’s government ordered the dissolution of the political party of Ousmane Sonko this week shortly after charging the main opposition leader of fomenting insurrection, a move that risks exacerbating the tense political crisis in the relatively peaceful West African nation, Radio France Internationale reported.
Sonko was arrested on Friday after claiming that security forces filmed him outside his house and he snatched one of the phones to ask them to delete it.
On Monday, authorities accused him and his Patriots for Senegal (PASTEF) party of a series of allegations, including inciting unrest and undermining state security, according to Al Jazeera.
His detention sparked violent demonstrations across Senegal. with Sonko’s supporters clashing with police. The country’s interior ministry said Monday two people died but did not provide details of the circumstances of the deaths.
Meanwhile, PASTEF criticized the decision as “anti-democratic” and warned that Senegal’s stability was “now compromised.”
Sonko, a leading opposition figure, has faced a slew of charges against him: In June, a court convicted him of morally “corrupting” a young woman but acquitted him of the more severe charge of rape.
Although he has not been jailed, the conviction prevents him from standing in next year’s election.
The opposition leader has accused President Macky Sall and his cabinet of launching legal proceedings against him in order to prohibit his participation in the 2024 polls.
Over the past few months, Sonko has called for Sall to step down from the February 2024 election because his candidacy would violate constitutional term limits. Earlier this month, in a surprise move Sall said he would not seek a third term.