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Senegal : What French investigators know so far about Diary Sow’s disappearance

By Anne-Sophie Faivre Le Cadre, in Dakar
Posted on Wednesday, 20 January 2021 08:26

Senegalese student Diary Sow, pictured here in August 2020 in Dakar, mysteriously disappeared in early January in Paris. SENEGALESE PRESIDENCY / AFP

The Senegalese student Diary Sow, who until recently was attending preparatory classes at the Parisian secondary school Louis-le-Grand, disappeared voluntarily for reasons that are still unclear. That has been the conclusion reached by the French investigators assigned to the case.

It is a case that has gripped Dakar and Paris; the honours student who vanished.

Sources close to the investigation confirmed that Diary Sow – the Senegalese student whose disappearance at the beginning of January has caused a stir in Senegal as well as in France – voluntarily disappeared. The young woman is safe and sound, and there is no evidence to suggest that she was taken by force.

Internet history

Sow’s disappearance was reported to the police station in the 8th arrondissement by Amadou Diallo, the Senagalese consul general based in Paris, on 8 January. Since then,  the French police have carried out numerous searches, combed through Sow’s bank accounts, carried out a neighbourhood survey, analysed her internet browsing history and searched her room in the university residence where she was staying in the 13th arrondissement. Sow’s personal belongings and clothing were no longer in her room.

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As for her internet history, she had been researching the legality of a voluntary disappearance in France. According to our sources, the disappearance of the girl who had twice won the nationwide competitive examinations in Senegal appears to have been her own initiative.

Contacted several times on her mobile phone by the French police over the last few days, Sow had refused to answer their calls.

Voluntary disappearance

When questioned by the police officers of the Brigade de répression de la délinquance à la personne (BRDP), several of her classmates said that she had told them that she did not want to go back to school in January, and that she wanted to “leave” – without specifying where. The French police have expressly asked them not to speak to the press, so as not to compromise the investigation.

The young woman’s family, who were informed of the voluntary nature of her disappearance last weekend, now refuse to answer journalists’ questions.

The reason for this girl’s voluntary disappearance remains unclear. The investigators do not have, for the moment, any more information as to what pushed this brilliant young woman to give up everything just a few months before the competitive examinations of the Ecoles Polytechnique, Centrale and Mines.