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Six charged over Senegal newspaper office attack

By AFP

Added 8th August 2020 05:55 PM

The acts are punishable by at least ten years in prison.

Six charged over Senegal newspaper office attack

The unidentified individuals received charges of looting and criminal conspiracy in Dakar on Friday evening.

The acts are punishable by at least ten years in prison.

COURT| CRIME 

Six people have been charged with allegedly ransacking a Senegalese newspaper, an official said Saturday, after it reported that a Muslim religious and political leader fell ill with COVID-19. 

Les Echos said Monday on its front page that the Tijaniyya brotherhood's leader Serigne Moustapha Sy, who also heads the small PUR party, was "stricken by COVID-19" and had been admitted to the main hospital in the capital Dakar.

But the party denounced the report as lies and issued a veiled warning to the newspaper.

An official at the newspaper, Cheikh Oumar Ndao, told AFP earlier this week that four or five assailants had arrived at the publication around 1:00 pm on Monday.

"They asked for the author of the article on Moustapha Sy, issued threats and damaged equipment," including seven computers and a TV set, Oumar Ndao told AFP.

Senegalese gendarmes later arrested six suspects, although it is not clear at what date.

The unidentified individuals received charges of looting and criminal conspiracy in Dakar on Friday evening, according to an official close to the investigation, who requested anonymity.

"It is a criminal charge. These acts are punishable by at least ten years in prison," the official told AFP.

Groups such as Reporters Without Borders and Senegal's Council of Editors had denounced the attack on the newspaper office and demanded a firm response.

Health officials in the West African state have officially declared 11,003 coronavirus cases for 229 deaths, but those infected have complained they are stigmatised.

Senegal, a Muslim-majority nation of 16 million people, ranks 49th out of 180 countries in media freedom with the Reporters without Borders watchdog.

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