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Court orders Senegalese opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, to face trial over rape

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Senegal

A prominent opposition Senegalese leader, Ousmane Sonko, has been ordered to face trial for alleged rape.

The 48-year-old former tax inspector came third in Senegal’s presidential election in 2019 and has enjoyed a rapid political rise thanks in part to his popularity with young people.

The judge on Tuesday signed an order to send Sonko’s case to a criminal court for alleged crimes he was charged with in 2021, including rape and death threats, the plaintiff’s lawyer El Hadji Diouf said.

“She is satisfied. She appreciates the fact that, despite the campaign of lies and manipulation by Sonko’s supporters who are afraid of the trial, the judge stood firm,” he said.

Meanwhile, the politician has described the rape accusation as part of a scheme to torpedo his 2024 candidacy and claimed victim of a plot by President Macky Sall.

Authorities have denied any misuse of state institutions in the legal proceedings against Sonko.

Politics

Regional bloc leaders, wants ceasefire amidst diplomatic tension between Congo DR, Rwanda

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There is a regional call by Eastern heads of state for an immediate ceasefire by all parties in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Secretary General of the regional bloc, the East Africa Community, Peter Mathuki, said: “There must be immediate ceasefire by all political parties.

He added: “The withdraw including all foreign armed groups and directed the chief of defence forces of all the partners’ states of East African Community to meet urgently within the next one week and set new timelines for the withdrawal and the commend appropriate deployment matrix in different parts of eastern DRC.”

Mathuki said: “The heads of state called upon parties to respect and implement all the summits decisions and agreed upon themselves that any again violation should be reported immediately and the summit now will take the charge of this process.”

The diplomatic tension between East African neighbours, hit another height last month after Rwandan president Paul Kagame said the country can no longer accept refugees from the DRC.

Also last month, Rwandan forces fired at a fighter jet from the DRC, with the claim that it violated its airspace. The Rwandan government spokesperson, Yolande Makolo, said in a statement said his country had to take the measure after the military jet violated its airspace.

The DRC has consistently accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 armed group – whose origins lie in the region’s ethnic fighting – and powerful voices in the West have openly agreed. But Rwanda has denied backing the M23.

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Politics

Burkina Faso’s junta leader, Ibrahim Traore, assures France of relations amidst recent tension

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Amidst recent diplomatic tension between Burkina Faso and France, the military leader of the West African country, Ibrahim Traoré has claimed that recent incidences do not suggest the end of relations with France.

Burkina Faso had expelled French ambassadors and expelled French troops earlier in the year. French President, Emmanuel Macron had sought clarifications from military President Ibrahim Traore about reported demands for the departure of French troops from the country.

He said: “We’ve heard everywhere in the press that Wagner is in Ouagadougou. That’s also how we heard about it. I’ve asked some people who say, ‘Oh really? Where are they?’

“We’ve since heard that they’re even in a hotel somewhere, we’re surprised to hear about that.”

“There’s a general state of mind whereby if you deal with Wagner, everyone runs away from you, so it’s something which has been created in order that everyone shuns us – well congratulations, good job.”

The wave of anti-French agitations in the West African sub-region has continued in recent times. Notably French relations with Burkina Faso’s neighbour, Mali who is also caught up in a serious security crisis.

“The French embassy is here,” He said. “French nationals are here, just as ours is there, so diplomatically nothing has changed.

“This is about an agreement over military presence, and as they have said, our sovereignty is up to us, so that’s what we are expressing through our denunciation of this agreement. So there is no breaking off of diplomatic relations, or hatred of any particular country.”

France’s position in Africa has been a subject of discussion lately amidst recent anti-French agitations across the continent.

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