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Death toll rises in Senegal as crisis deepens over delayed presidential election

Protesters shout slogans and collect barrels and tables to burn during clashes with police on the sidelines of a protest against a last-minute delay of presidential elections in Dakar, Senegal, on February 9, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

A teenager has died following clashes in southern Senegal, bringing to three the number of people killed in unrest that has engulfed the African country since President Macky Sall postponed the presidential election.

Landing Camara, who was also known as Diedhiou, was injured in clashes between protesters and security forces in Casamance’s town of Ziguinchor and later succumbed to his injuries.

He “took a projectile to the head and died of his injuries in intensive care” on Saturday evening, a hospital source in Ziguinchor, who asked not to be named, told AFP on Sunday.

According to his identity papers, Diedhiou was 16.

“There were several seriously wounded people during the protests and one died. He was hit in the head by a bullet,” Abdou Sane, coordinator of the opposition party Pastef in Ziguinchor, said.

Senegal, a country long seen as a haven of stability and democracy in West Africa, has been plunged into one of its worst crises in decades after Sall decided to delay the February 25 presidential vote.

Senegal’s parliament backed the move last Monday and voted to keep Sall in office until his successor takes over, which is unlikely to be before early 2025.

Sall, whose second term had been due to end on April 2, said he postponed the vote due to a row between parliament and the Constitutional Council over potential candidates prevented from running.

Opposition leaders have decried the move as a “constitutional coup” and slammed the crackdown on protesters.

Two other youths have died following protests in the capital Dakar and the northern city of Saint-Louis since Friday.

More protests are planned on Tuesday in response to a call from campaigners from the Aar Sunu Election group (Protect our Election).

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