Senegal ALERT: Newspaper closed down, edition seized and editor detained

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Senegalese police on August 28, 2008 stormed the premises of 24 Heures Chrono, a privately-owned, Dakar-based daily newspaper, sealed off its offices and arrested El Malick Seck, the editor-in-chief.

The police also seized the August 28 edition of the publication.
Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that the closure of the 24 Heures Chrono and the subsequent arrest of its editor followed the lead story of the day linking President Abdoulaye Wade and his son, Abdul Karim Wade to a case of money laundering.

The article was headlined: “Several Billon Stolen in Côte d'Ivoire; Wade and his son Karim Implicated in A Case of Money Laundering”.

In a related development Farba Senghor, the Minister of Air Transport, who was alleged to have instigated previous attacks on two newspapers, 24 Heures Chrono and L’As was relieved of his duties on August 28. According to the authorities this was to facilitate smooth investigations into the matter.
On August 17, the offices of the two privately-owned newspapers were ransacked by a group of men driving vehicles bearing official Senegalese Government registration numbers. 

The police have since arrested nine men in connection with the attacks, including Minister Senghor’s nephew.

MFWA is deeply concerned about the rate at which journalists of the independent media houses are attacked in Senegal. We view these actions as tantamount to undermining press freedom. MFWA condemns the latest attack on the newspaper and calls for the immediate release of the detained editor.

Media Foundation for West Africa