Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is in Senegal to meet with opposition candidates in a bid to calm tensions ahead of this weekend's Presidential elections.
The retired leader arrived Wednesday, telling the Associated Press that Senegal , is a very beautiful country and nothing should be done to destroy it.
Obansanjo, who has mediated conflicts elsewhere in Africa, is trying to calm tensions between protestors angry at incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade's candidacy and government forces.
According to Reuters, opposition leaders and civil society group M-23 have vowed to make the country ungovernable if Wade, 85, continues with his campaign for a third term in office.
Eyewitnesses said business in the capital Dakar were boarded up as the country nervously awaits Sunday's election.
On Saturday police fired tear gas at protestors after they took to the streets of Dakar.
The riots took place as around 23,000 security personnel, including the army and police, voted in an early ballot, Reuters reported.
So far Wade has been dismissive of the disturbances, calling them, a light breeze which rustles the leaves of a tree, but never becomes a hurricane, according to the AP.
Senegal is considered to be one of the most stable countries in the region, but the recent protests have worried observers with their uncharacteristic size and pace.
Obansanjo is in the country as the head of an African Union election observation mission. Since leaving office in 2007 he has become well known as an African mediator, telling reporters when he landed on Tuesday he was there to help prevent the preventable.
One of those Obansanjo is meeting is Wade's former protégé and ex-Prime Minister Idrissa Seck.
Wade has accused Seck of hiring a private militia to cause unrest ahead of the vote, an accusation Seck later denied.