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On the day he was fatally shot during riots, a Senegalese man warned of gun violence
On the day he was fatally shot during riots, a Senegalese man warned of gun violence

Dakar: On Friday, the day of his death, El-Hajji Cisse was active on Twitter, sending hundreds of tweets as riots broke out outside the gates of his compound in a busy Dakar suburb.

The 26-year-old student cautioned his 1,700 followers in one post about security personnel shooting live ammunition at protesters. In another, he provided first aid advice for those hurt while walking the streets.

Offline, he also assisted, according to his younger brother Djimbala Ba, by demonstrating to elderly neighbours how to lessen their discomfort from inhaling mouthfuls of tear gas.

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"He spent his time in the service of others," said Ba, 24, breaking down in tears during an interview at the house where he and his brother used to share a bed in a small side room. He was an admirable patriot.

After a bowl of couscous and some milk on Friday night around nine o'clock, Cisse braved the short walk to a mosque to pray as rioters and security forces clashed nearby, according to Ba and another friend, Cheikh Ndiaye.

A short while later, he was shot.

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The deadliest unrest in Senegal in decades has claimed 16 lives, and it was started by opposition leader Ousmane Sonko's prison sentence, which could prevent him from running for president in February. Sonko contests his guilt.

His supporters, who allege that the accusations were politically motivated, have descended upon the streets in their thousands, pelting security personnel with rocks, torching vehicles and structures and ransacking stores and petrol stations.

 

Rights organisations have criticised the use of excessive force by police and the use of tear gas in their response. According to the government, 500 people have been taken into custody.

Security personnel deny using excessive force or opening fire on demonstrators. According to Ba, Cisse intended to study in Canada. He frequently wore the Real Madrid jersey, which was his preferred football team. 

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He spent hours on his phone in the Grand Yoff neighbourhood, ranting against a partial internet shutdown as the riots got worse on Friday. His persona started to reflect the disorder and rage outside.

 

Just before six o'clock in one of his last tweets, he begged Twitter CEO Elon Musk to assist in getting Senegalese back online. Three hours later, Cisse was shot in the shoulder while walking home from the mosque, according to Ba, Ndiaye, and two other friends.

In a video posted on TikTok, a man is seen attempting to press on what appears to be Cisse's upper arm as he lies motionless on the ground. He is then carried towards a hospital by a crowd.

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