Senegal’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator Professor Moussa Seydi, said Monday he has been attacked by a man who is apparently enraged by the decision of the authorities not to repatriate the bodies of compatriots who died of the pandemic abroad.“I was attacked violently by a gentleman in the parking lot of Yoff cemetery between 6 and 7 p.m., after I had just attended the burial of a friend. He (the aggressor) behaved with rare violence, with insolence and rudeness beyond comprehension. In addition to having uttered insulting remarks, while I had kindly stopped to listen to his complaints, he blocked me several times to insult me,” says the infectious disease specialist in a Monday delivery of the daily L ‘Observer.
“According to the aggressor, I am the accomplice of the State of Senegal in its decision to temporarily ban the repatriation of the bodies of Senegalese patients who died of Covid-19 abroad,” the head of the Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases of the Fann Teaching Hospital.
In early April, when Senegal had nearly 1,900 cases of coronavirus including 19 deaths, the government decided that it was necessary to suspend repatriation of remains for fear of contamination during transport.
Relatives of expatriates who died of the disease and Senegalese human rights organizations had criticized the decision before bringing it before the Supreme Court, which ultimately rejected the request. They intended to refer the matter to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, but did not need go further with their complaint, as President Macky Sall took a decision in their favor.
“Taking into account the strong demand for the repatriation of bodies of our compatriots who died of Covid-19 abroad (…), it will now be possible to proceed with the repatriations,” President Macky Sall announced in an address to the nation.
In addition, some of the relatives of expatriates who died from Covid-19 still seem to hold a grudge against the State and health workers. For his part, Professor Seydi said he “gave all the information in my possession to Interior Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye regarding the perpetrator of this attacker.’ Then I contacted my lawyer who will take care of the case. I did what I had to do.”
Since the appearance of the coronavirus in March in Senegal, 9,764 cases have been recorded, including 6,477 recoveries and 194 deaths.