The chairperson of the African Union Commission expressed concern Sunday over the recent unrest in Senegal, which has resulted in loss of life and material damage.

In a statement, Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned the acts of violence and looting and any seditious inclinations.

He reaffirmed his commitment to the resolution of all crises and tensions in Africa through peaceful means, dialogue and with strict respect for order, civil peace and the rule of law.

Protests have been taking place in Senegal for nearly a week following the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, leaving at least five people dead and many injured, according to reports.

Amnesty International called on the Senegalese government Friday to clarify the circumstances surrounding the deaths of demonstrators and to explain the human rights abuses since Sonko’s arrest on March 3.

Sonko, whose parliamentary immunity was withdrawn because of a rape case in which he is accused, was on his way to court when he was arrested due to the presence of demonstrators and sympathizers on his route. He is also accused of disrupting public order. He has denied the allegations.

On March 4, his supporters took to the streets in several towns, saying his arrest was politically motivated. They were attacked and arrested by Senegalese security forces.

Senegalese youth have called for a general peaceful protest against the government and over Sonko’s arrest on Monday.

Schools in the country have also been shut until March 15 due to the protests.

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