Pro-govt supporter killed in Senegal clashes

A police official told AFP the individual was stabbed during "scuffles" between the Unity and Assembly Party (PUR), which is led by opposition leader Issa Sall, and pro-government campaigners.

FILE: Supporters of the Senegalese "Parti de l'Unite et du Rassemblement" (PUR) gather on 3 February 2019, at the municipal stadium of Thiaroye, a suburb of Dakar, as campaigning for the upcoming Senegalese presidential election of 24 February kicks off. Picture: AFP

DAKAR - A pro-government campaigner was killed in eastern Senegal on Monday, in the first fatality from a string of pre-election clashes between supporters of President Macky Sall and the opposition.

A police official told AFP the individual was stabbed during "scuffles" between the Unity and Assembly Party (PUR), which is led by opposition leader Issa Sall, and pro-government campaigners.

The body was taken to a hospital in Tamboucounda, about 400 kilometres east of Dakar, the source said.

Contacted by AFP, the president's press office confirmed that the person killed was a supporter of the governing Senegalese Democratic Party.

Violence has buffeted Senegal ahead of presidential elections on 24 February, despite appeals for calm from religious leaders.

At least two people were "seriously injured" on Sunday in Fatick, a presidential stronghold in Senegal's centre-west, in clashes with supporters of rising opposition candidate Ousmane Sonko, local media reported.

Four people, all Sonko supporters, were badly hurt on February 4 in the northern city of Saint-Louis, Sonko's campaign said.

Senegal, a former French colony, is seen as a beacon of democracy and relative prosperity in West Africa.

But its election campaigns are often tarred by accusations of corruption, influence-peddling and misinformation.