Anxiety in Senegal after losing the “best student” in Paris

PARIS – When Diary Sow was crowned Senegal’s best student, after taking first place in the national high school competitions in 2018 and 2019, much of the country became mesmerized by the young girl, a wonderful student from a humble background with a perfect work ethic who excelled in science and literature.

Mrs. Sow was awarded a scholarship by the Senegalese authorities, and she was registered in one of the most prestigious French schools in Paris, and even She published her own account. Senegalese professionals saw it destined for greatness.

So when Ms. Sow, now 20, was reported missing this month, there was an outpouring of concern in Senegal and France, as prosecutors opened an investigation. The Senegalese diaspora in France also turned to work, hoping to find her.

“It symbolizes hope,” said Fatu Pinto Sanoho, board member. Senegalese Students and Trainees Union in France.

“For an emerging country, the education of young girls is very important,” said Ms. Sue, adding that Mrs. Sue was the all-girls’ brigade bearer. “It was a perfect fit for that role.”

Ms Sue was studying at Lycée Louis-le-Grand in the Latin Quarter of Paris in an arduous curriculum that prepares students for highly competitive exams that open doors to the best business, science and engineering schools in France. last yearThere were approximately 12,000 Senegalese students in France.

She looked like thriving. Emile Bachoum, the official handling Senegalese student services in France, said Ms Sue never reported any specific problems with his department.

In August, Mrs. Sue participated picture On Facebook of a book by Senegalese President Macky Sall – the president himself signed it. Mr. Sal wrote, “To Diary Sue, a rising star who is the pride of the entire nation.”

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But on January 4, after the end of the winter break, Mrs. Sue failed to appear in the classroom. Several days later, she was still missing.

On Thursday, her school notified Senegalese authorities in Paris, who filed a complaint with the police. Mrs. Sue was last reported in a student residence in the 13th arrondissement in Paris where she had a small studio apartment, according to the Senegalese consulate, although it was not clear if someone had actually seen her, or if her badge was used there. . .

Senegalese authorities said there was no evidence of a criminal act and no hospitals had reported Ms. Sue’s entry, but they also warned that the investigation had only just begun.

Ms. Sow is originally from Mbour, a city about 35 miles south of Dakar, where a steady flow of local and foreign journalists visited her family on Tuesday in a calm and tense atmosphere.

Family members refused most press interviews, but an uncle, who declined to be named to protect the family’s privacy, said they last spoke to Mrs. Sue on January 2.

Mrs. Sue was admitted to a selective high school in Diourbel, in western Senegal, and won the Science Prize in 2017. In 2018 and 2019, she was declared “Best Student” in Senegal after taking first place in Concours général, a national competition with challenges Scientific and literary.

The portrait of Mrs. Sow, standing with her novel, now appears prominently in the Senegalese consulate website. The notice said: “The diary is thin, 172 cm long and has dark brown eyes.” “Help us find her by sharing. We are counting on you!”

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During the weekend, about 200 members of the Senegalese community distributed fliers in the streets of Paris and Shouted “Together, let’s go search for Sue’s Diary!” Others have pasted posters of her on the walls of her school.

A campaign is also under way to spread the word about Ms. Sow’s disappearance on social media, using the hashtag # Let’s find DiarisoOr, let’s find a transplant diary.

In Senegal, disappearances grabbed the country’s attention and made headlines. Mandione Laye Kebe, the photographer who directs A. Twitter account is widely followed In Senegal, he was one of many people who crowded online with the hashtag #RetrouvonsDiarySow.

“I cannot imagine her family’s grief,” he said. “They live very far. They have no idea what’s going on, and they don’t know what to do or whom to talk to. It’s very difficult.”

Aida Alami Contributed to reporting from Dakar, Senegal and Maddy Camara From Mbour, Senegal.

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