Senegal’s opposition leader Sonko ends hunger strike

Senegal’s detained opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who is also an aspiring presidential candidate and a vocal critic of President Macky Sall, ended his hunger strike, which he started on July 30, on Saturday.

Since 2021, Sonko has encountered a series of legal challenges that he alleges are orchestrated to prevent his political participation.

In late July, Sonko was apprehended and accused of various offenses, including incitement to insurrection, involvement in a criminal association related to a terrorist enterprise, and undermining state security in relation to incidents dating back to 2021.

rewrite news line In a separate affair, he was on June 1 sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for morally corrupting a young woman, a conviction that makes him ineligible to stand in next year’s election.

Following the commencement of his hunger strike, he was hospitalized on August 6 and subsequently placed in an intensive care unit, as confirmed by his legal team and political party.

“Ousmane Sonko has just suspended his hunger strike,” El Hadji Malick Ndiaye, a spokesman for his party, announced on Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter.

This decision follows appeals from numerous Muslim leaders who encouraged Sonko to conclude his protest. In Senegal, where the majority of the population is Muslim, religious leaders frequently play a role in mediating political disputes.

Sonko’s legal team and political party had cautioned that his health had significantly deteriorated, placing his life “in jeopardy.”

Sonko has garnered a fervent following among the disillusioned youth of Senegal.

He portrays President Sall as a potential dictator presiding over a corrupt elite, while Sall’s supporters counter that Sonko is sowing instability.

Senegal’s Justice Minister Ismaila Madior Fall declared at the conclusion of last month that Sonko’s conviction in the moral corruption scandal was “final,” rendering him ineligible for the 2024 presidential election.

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