Senegal riots over electricity cuts


9 July
Riot broke out in the city of Mbour, about 80km from the Senegalese capital Dakar when protesters took to the streets denouncing frequent power cuts. The protesters settled for the local branch of the national water and electricity company, Senelec, where they destroyed materials belonging to the company in demonstration of their anger.

Outnumbered by the rioters, the few police present at the scene failed to prevent the damages.

Power cuts have become a chronic problem in Senegal, with the authorities hardly able to give any plausible explanation.

However, the local media Thursday reported that officials of Senelec blamed “bad weather” for the current spate of outages.

Prior to the commencement of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Senelec raised hopes among electricity consumers in Senegal with the announcement of a CFA 21 billion investment in the energy sector as a means of ensuring convenience throughout the period of the tournament. But it never worked.

A senior workers union member, Lamine Diarra, told Music superstar Youssou Ndour’s RFM radio that the blackouts were in fact related to bad quality of fuel used in the machines. He accused the authorities of spending money on exceptional poor quality of fuel that is dangerous for the engines of the machines.

Meanwhile, the so-called Collective of Imams in Dakar has issued a warning, according to Sen24heures.com, threatening boycott of payment of electricity bills if the situation continued.

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