Deadly clashes in Senegal ahead of opposition leader’s rape trial

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Clashes between police and supporters of opposition politician Ousmane Sonko on Monday left one policeman dead in southern Senegal, officers said.

Protests broke out in the town of Ziguinchor the day before a scheduled court appearance for 48-year-old Sonko, who is facing trial for the alleged rape of an employee at a beauty salon where he went for a massage.

Sonko, who was also recently sentenced to a six-month suspended prison sentence for defamation and insults against the tourism minister, has denied the charges.

He says he is the victim of a government plot to scupper his eligibility to run for president in the 2024 presidential election.

When Sonko was arrested in 2021, several days of protests left at least 12 people dead.