Senegal: government announces commission of inquiry after protests

An “independent and impartial” commission of inquiry will be set up after the protests that rocked the country in early March. The government made the announcement on Thursday, April 8, and presented its assessment of the events. In a 24-page memorandum, it reported 13 deaths during the unrest. The violence erupted in the wake of the court case involving Ousmane Sonko, the opponent accused of rape by an employee of a massage parlor. The authorities assured that justice would be done.
“Establish the truth and determine responsibility” after the demonstrations. These are the objectives of this commission of inquiry, announced in a desire for “appeasement” according to the government.
It is an open commission and members of the opposition and civil society will be able to participate,” said Armed Forces Minister Sidiki Kaba, “so that this commission can work independently on what some or others have had to do. ”
No timetable was specified. The commission will be charged with shedding light on the presence or otherwise of “hidden forces” among the demonstrators – an expression used by the Minister of the Interior during the unrest – or on the presence of “henchmen” alongside the forces of order.
While the opposition and civil society organizations accuse the police and gendarmes of excessive use of force, Sidiki Kaba assures that there will be no impunity. But he praised the professionalism of the defense and security forces. “The instructions given by President Macky Sall were not to shoot at the demonstrators, and this was not done. The police showed restraint and composure. Had it not been for that, we would have had a bloodbath. ”
The legal proceedings, involving Ousmane Sonko, have been “a hurricane”, a “shock wave”, on a “fertile ground”, analyzes the minister. He assures that “justice will render its verdict in full independence”.
For its part, the Movement for the Defense of Democracy “takes note” of the creation of an independent commission of inquiry. This was one of the demands of this coalition of opposition political parties and civil society organizations created after the arrest of Ousmane Sonko. But the M2D says it remains “vigilant” on the modalities of setting up this commission, and already displays its “skepticism” on its impartiality towards the opponent.

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Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network