By Enyichukwu Enenanna
The detained leader of the Senegalese opposition PASTEF party, Ousmane Sonko, who has been on a hunger strike in protesting criminal charges against him, has landed in the hospital.
“Prior to his imprisonment, he was in good health and had no known illnesses,” said the statement on Sunday from Sonko’s Patriots of Senegal (PASTEF) party that has since been dissolved by the President Macky Sall-led government.
Sonko was hospitalized in Main Hospital in downtown Dakar even as reason for his hospitalization was not immediately made clear.
Sonko was last week arrested from his home and detained in advance of criminal proceedings against him on charges of calling for insurrection, conspiracy against the state and other charges.
Sonko announced July 30 on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that he would start his hunger strike.
The announcement came a day before a judge in the capital of Dakar ordered his arrest and detention.
The latest charges against Sonko came weeks after a judge convicted him in a separate case of corrupting youth and sentenced him to two years in prison, which led to deadly protests across the nation.
Last week, at least four people died and several were injured in fresh protests after Sonko was detained in a prison just outside Dakar.
Sonko came third in Senegal’s 2019 presidential election and is popular with the country’s youth.
His supporters have repeatedly maintained the charges against him are part of a government effort to distract him from prosecuting his ambition ahead of time 2024 presidential election.
Sonko’s lawyer, Juan Branco, was arrested in Mauritania and extradited to Senegal, where he is in a Dakar prison, according to Branco’s lawyer, Robin Bindard.