Wire Service
2 minute read
7 Sep 2017
1:30 pm

Activist expelled from Senegal arrives in France


A controversial west African activist expelled from Senegal for being a "threat to public order" arrived in France on Thursday, according to an airport source.

Kemi Seba, born in France to parents from Benin, was ordered to leave Senegal Tuesday following an incident last month in which he burned 5,000 CFA francs — a banknote worth 7.6 euros ($9.10) — in an anti-colonial protest over “French Africa”.

The 35-year-old landed at Orly airport in Paris, where a reception committee of around 20 people awaited him, the source said.

Seba, whose real name is Stellio Capo Chichi, was acquitted by a Dakar court last week on the charge of destroying a banknote following a complaint by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).

However, the Senegalese interior ministry took the decision to expel him, saying “his presence on national territory represents a serious threat to public order”.

The former leader of the Ka tribe — a group that was dissolved in 2006 in France, particularly for anti-Semitism — was arrested at his home in the Senegalese capital in August.

After spending five days in detention, Seba was released along with another member of his Urgences Panafricanistes movement who was being held for providing him with a lighter.

– Rights groups ‘surprised’ at expulsion –

The Dakar prosecutor’s office appealed against the decision, and a legal source told AFP on Tuesday that he is to be retried at a future date.

In a joint statement, three rights groups — the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Senegalese League of Human Rights and Amnesty International Senegal — said they were “surprised” at the expulsion.

They denounced the “completely arbitrary procedure which violates the right to aid provided for people covered by deportation orders” and had asked the Senegal government to postpone the expulsion.

The CFA franc is pegged to the euro and used in eight west African countries in the region, six of which are former French colonies. A similar currency of the same name is used by six states in central Africa, although they are not technically interchangeable.

Seba has in recent years organised many demonstrations against the CFA franc, which his Facebook page describes as “an economic and political scandal of the colonial establishment which is killing our people”.

He is no stranger to brushes with the law — particularly in France where two groups he founded, Tribu K and Jeunesse Kemi Saba, were banned for “racist and anti-Semitic” ideology.

He has also acknowledged being friends with controversial French comedian Dieudonne who has been convicted for racist and anti-Semitic remarks.