EU Considering Investigating Senegal Police Misuse

The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) has requested the European Commission to begin an investigation into the alleged misuse of EU funds in Senegal after reports that an EU funded police force, intended to tackle cross border crime, was used to suppress pro-democracy protests.

The Investigation

An investigation carried out by Al Jazeera and the porCausa Foundation in Senegal has reported that Senegal’s Rapid Action Surveillance and Intervention Group (GAR-SI) was used in order to suppress protests in Senegal.

GAR-SI is an EU funded police force. The project cost 74 million euros (81.3 million USD), and sought to establish a specialized police force to operate on the Senegalese border with Mali. The police force was to combat armed groups operating in the area, trafficking, smuggling, and various other kinds of cross-border crimes. Additionally, GAR-SI is supposed to assist against illegal migration to Europe. Senegal is a key basing point for certain migration routes from Africa to Europe, particularly Spain’s Canary Islands. It is also one of the most dangerous. As such, Spain is one of the largest supporters of the police force.

The investigation from Al Jazeera and the porCausa Foundation, however, found that the police force had also been employed by former President Macky Sall to clamp down on opposition and pro-democracy protests from 2021 to 2023.

During these protests, most of which were centred around the political and legal troubles of now Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko, at least 60 civilians were killed during clashes with police.

Two Spanish MP’s, along with Amnesty International, have requested the Spanish government investigate the alleged misuse of funds, as well as the “illegitimate use” of security equipment that Spain had supplied to Senegal.

While Spain had denied previous reports that GAR-SI police were involved in protest crackdowns, the Spanish Foreign Ministry on April 9th stated that they were coordinating with the EU’s delegation in Senegal in order to “clarify the facts.”

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.

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