Hunger striking Senegal opposition leader Sonko in intensive care, party says

DAKAR (Reuters) – Senegal’s hunger striking opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was admitted to intensive care at a Dakar hospital after falling ill on Wednesday night, his party said in a statement on Thursday.

Reuters could not independently verify the statement. Sonko’s party, Pastef, gave no details about his condition.

Sonko has been on a hunger strike since July 30 in protest against recent charges against him which include plotting an insurrection, as well as a two-year prison sentence he received in June relating to an alleged rape case. He denies wrongdoing.

His followers, who have held protests throughout the year that have sometimes led to deadly clashes with police, accuse President Macky Sall of trying to disqualify Sonko from next year’s presidential election.

Sall’s government denies this and blames Sonko for stoking violence. The government dissolved his party last month.

The justice ministry said it was not aware of the situation and declined to comment until it had more information.

Last week, Justice Minister Ismaila Madior Fall told reporters that Sonko had been admitted to Dakar’s main hospital where he had undergone treatment and was doing better.

(Reporting by Diadie Ba and Ngouda Dione; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Nick Macfie)