A bus traveling towards downtown Dakar was attacked by seven assailants using an incendiary device on Tuesday, according to authorities. The attack resulted in two deaths and five injuries. At this time, there is no established link between this attack and the protest against the imprisonment of opposition figure Ousmane Sonko.
Two people were killed on Tuesday, August 1st in Dakar in an attack using an incendiary device against the bus they were traveling in, according to the driver of the vehicle, the Senegalese Minister of the Interior, and several officials.
The Minister of the Interior, Antoine Abdoulaye Félix Diome, refrained from clearly establishing a link between the bus attack and the protest against the imprisonment of opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, a declared candidate for the 2024 presidential election.
However, while present at the scene alongside the burnt-out bus, he denounced an attempt to “impose by means of a theory of uniform thought what one wants on their fellow citizens.” He referred to “hidden forces” that he had already invoked in June, which he claimed were at work in a context of unrest provoked by Ousmane Sonko’s legal situation.
The repeated episodes of unrest that have accompanied the power struggle between Ousmane Sonko and the government, as well as the judiciary, since March 2021 have led to riots, as well as looting and attacks on public and private property, including several incidents involving public transportation.
“Protesters or criminals”
According to statements from the driver, a company representative, and the minister, the bus was traveling towards downtown Dakar from the outskirts when it was blocked by a group of individuals who had come down from a bridge in a peripheral working-class neighborhood of the capital. According to the company representative, Mbaye Amar, it was “protesters or criminals” who targeted the bus full of passengers.
The driver, Abdoulaye Diop, who was injured and shocked, reported on the scene to an AFP journalist that a group of hooded individuals got on the bus, insulted him, and one of them lit an improvised incendiary device that they then threw.
The Minister of the Interior stated that the seven assailants stripped the passengers of their money and mobile phones. “During this terrorist attack, we mourned seven victims, including two fatalities and five seriously injured,” he said in remarks broadcast on social media.
“What a criminal act, what a inhuman act to throw a Molotov cocktail into a bus carrying Senegalese people,” he declared, promising that the state would pursue and arrest the perpetrators.
The detention of Ousmane Sonko on Monday, under various charges including incitement to insurrection, has led to protest movements. Three deaths had been reported in the southern part of the country and in the suburbs of Dakar prior to the bus attack.