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The Pride of Senegal Is Missing in Paris

Novelist Diary Sow, 20, failed to show up at school this month
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2021 12:10 PM CST

(Newser) – French authorities are racing to find Diary Sow, a Senegalese student missing in Paris who is considered "the pride of a whole nation." Senegal President Macky Sall recently bestowed that compliment on Sow, a published author, whose name "is practically synonymous with achievement" in her home country, per the Washington Post. Named Senegal's best student, Sow scored back-to-back wins in national high-school competitions involving science and literature questions in 2018 and 2019 before moving to France to attend the prestigious preparatory school Lycée Louis-le-Grand, reports the New York Times. Hoping to pursue a career in engineering, the second-year student reportedly never missed a lecture. But when the new term began on Jan. 4, the 20-year-old was nowhere to be found.

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An uncle in Senegal says Sow's family last heard from her on Jan. 2, per the Times. The Senegalese Consulate notes Sow was last known to be at her studio apartment in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. However, it's unclear if that information is based on a keycard swipe or an actual sighting. Senegal's president has sent investigators to France to help with the search, which at least 200 members of Paris' Senegalese community are participating in. They've been calling hospitals, passing out flyers, and spreading the hashtag #RetrouvonsDiarySow (Let's Find Diary Sow) on social media. "This has devastated everyone," Mame Coumba Diouf Sagna, a former teacher who edited drafts of Sow's 2020 novel, tells the Post. "She is the inspiration of so many." (Read more missing person stories.)

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