Concern for international student, 20, missing in Paris

Senegal's 'Best Student' award-winner has not attended classes since before Christmas

12 January 2021
By Connexion journalist

Concern is mounting for the safety of a gifted international student in Paris who has been missing for more than a week.

Diary Sow, 20, who won Senegal's highly respected 'Best Student' award in 2018-19, is a second-year scholarship student at the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand, in the French capital, but she did not return to classes when the establishment reopened after the Christmas holidays.

The lycée alerted consular services about her unexplained absence last Thursday, Emile Bakhoum, head of the management service for Senegalese students abroad attached to the country's embassy in Paris, said.

The country's president Macky Sall - who had presented Ms Sow with her Best Student award - has called for 'all the necessary steps to be taken in order to find our compatriot as soon as possible'.

In recent days, the Senegalese diaspora in France has mobilised strongly. On Facebook and Twitter, calls to find Diary Sow were widely shared. "Friday, with our network of associations, we contacted about 80 hospitals in Paris, but none could confirm their presence," Thierno Laye Fall stated.

On Sunday, 125 Senegalese students distributed leaflets to passersby near the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and around the student residence where she lived in the 13th arrondissement.

Before coming to France, Ms Sow had told the media in Senegal that she was planning to study engineering or genetics after her two years in preparatory class, then return home to Senegal "contribute to the development and emergence of Senegal”.

"She is an ultra serious young woman, who was even in the process of writing of her second novel. She did not return to Dakar for the holidays," a diplomatic source told news website Franceinfo.

A police investigation has opened.

Get news, views and information from France