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Senegal Opposition MPs Detained for Assaulting Pregnant Lawmaker

The fight has worsened tensions that flared when the governing party lost its comfortable majority in July.


 

Senegal authorities on Thursday detained two opposition members of parliament for physically assaulting a pregnant colleague during a budget debate earlier this month, their lawyer said.

A violent brawl broke out in the National Assembly on December 1 when Massata Samb slapped Amy Ndiaye Gniby of the ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition after she scoffed while he was addressing the room.

Gniby, who is pregnant, threw a chair back at Samb before another opposition member of parliament, Mamadou Niang, kicked her in the stomach after she was pushed to the ground.

Both Samb and Niang had been detained and charged with voluntarily causing hurt, their lawyer Adama Fall told reporters.

They will appear in court on Monday, he said, adding that their detention violated their right to parliamentary immunity.

The fight has worsened political tensions in Senegal that flared when the governing party lost its comfortable majority in a July legislative election.

The  defeat has been linked to concerns President Macky Sall will seek a third term in 2024, a move the opposition says would be in breach of term limits and an earlier promise.

Sall, 60, has refused to state clearly whether he plans to run again.

Samb walked over and slapped Gniby in the midst of an address to parliament, during which he raised critical remarks she made days earlier about a spiritual leader opposed to a third Sall term.

Gniby derided his remarks and declared she did not care, after which Samb walked over and hit her in the face.

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