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Senegal opposition leader released after latest arrest

By Guardian Nigeria
17 November 2021   |   6:42 pm
Senegalese police released an opposition leader hours after his arrest on Wednesday, his lawyer said, a week after he was previously detained following clashes between his supporters

Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo (C) delivers a speech during the inauguration of the Macky Sall Street on the occasion of the Independence Day in Bissau on November 16, 2021. – Independence Day 2021 was postponed by two months by decision of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo due to covid-19 and bad weather. After being colonized by Portugal, Guinea-Bissau gained independence in 1974, following a long war of liberation. (Photo by CARMEN ABD ALI / AFP)

Senegalese police released an opposition leader hours after his arrest on Wednesday, his lawyer said, a week after he was previously detained following clashes between his supporters and security forces.

Political tensions in Senegal have flared up between President Macky Sall’s government and the opposition this year, with riots erupting in March after a leading opposition figure was arrested.

Barthelemy Dias, a mayoral candidate for Senegal’s capital Dakar, was arrested by police earlier Wednesday as he left home to “distribute flyers” with a small group of supporters, one of his lawyers, Cheikh Khouraissy Ba, told AFP via telephone.

Ba later confirmed that Dias had been released, although the police did not comment when approached by AFP.

Police previously detained Dias, a staunch rival of President Sall, presidential hopeful Ousmane Sonko and former minister Elhadji Malick Gakou on November 10 amid clashes between their followers and security forces in Dakar.

Dias was due to appear in court in connection with an incident where a man was shot dead in 2011 as political violence wracked the West African country.

Dias, mayor of Dakar’s Mermoz-Sacre-Coeur district, heads a coalition of opposition parties for the city’s mayoralty in local elections scheduled for January 2022.

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