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World Ethnic clashes in Ivory Coast opposition stronghold ahead of poll

14:35  18 october  2020
14:35  18 october  2020 Source:   aljazeera.com

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Political tension in central Ivory Coast ahead of a looming presidential vote has stoked friction along ethnic lines, in a country still scarred by post-election turmoil nearly a The scene in a Daoukro street last weekend after clashes between local youths from the Malinke and Baoule groups PHOTO: Yahoo.

Political tension in central Ivory Coast ahead of a looming presidential vote has stoked friction along ethnic lines, in a country still scarred by post-election turmoil nearly a decade ago. The scene in a Daoukro street last weekend after clashes between local youths from the Malinke and Baoule groups.

The home of an opposition presidential candidate has been burned down during clashes in Ivory Coast on Saturday, two weeks before the presidential election.

Alassane Ouattara et al. posing for the camera: President Ouattara officially launched his campaign on Friday [Sia Kambou/AFP] © President Ouattara officially launched his campaign on Friday [Sia Kambou/AFP] President Ouattara officially launched his campaign on Friday [Sia Kambou/AFP]

Violence began on Friday in Bongouanou, the stronghold of opposition candidate and former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, as residents from different ethnic groups fighting with machetes while houses and shops were set on fire.

“They burned down my house,” N’Guessan told AFP news agency on Saturday. “The people were transported from Abidjan. They targeted the property of opposition leaders.”

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Ban on protests in Ivory Coast ends ahead of polls . Ivory Coast 's main presidential election challenger, Henri Konan Bédié, called for a campaign of civil disobedience to Medical workers say at least two people have died during clashes in Ivory Coast following President Alassane Ouattara's

Residents told AFP that people from the local Agni ethnic group were fighting Dioula people from northern Ivory Coast, who back current President Alassane Ouattara.

“The situation is untenable. We have a lot of wounded people being taken to hospital,” said Mathieu, who lives in Bongouanou.

About 15 people were killed in inter-communal violence in August and September across the country after Ouattara announced his intention to run for a third term.

Candidates barred

Meanwhile, dozens of prospective candidates were barred from the election, including former president Laurent Gbagbo and ex-rebel chief Guillaume Soro.

In a step towards a potential boycott, the opposition asked supporters on Thursday not to take part in electoral events and campaigning.

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Ivory Coast is home to 62 different ethnic groups, including the Peuls. But many don't have Ivorian citizenship In Ivory Coast , the cocoa sector is on the verge of a new crisis. Small traders are finding it Read more: Ivory Coast issues arrest warrant for ex-rebel chief ahead of presidential election.

Opposition parties in Ivory Coast say chaotic conditions during Sunday's local elections deprived many people of the chance to vote. Pre-election violence in the central town of Daloa claimed the lives of four people and there had been fears of ethnic and religious bloodshed on the same scale as

Several high-profile figures, including N’Guessan, have also called for “civil disobedience” in recent weeks.

Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko condemned Saturday’s unrest and warned the opposition they were provoking violence.

“We will be quite implacable,” Bakayoko  said. “If you are responsible for violence on people, on public or private property, then sooner or later you will have to pay, there will be a trial.”

Ouattara officially launched his campaign on Friday, addressing thousands in a rally in the country’s second-biggest city, Bouake.

In addition to Ouattara and N’Guessan, former President Henri Konan Bedie and former parliamentarian Kouadio Konan Bertin are in the running for the October 31 poll.

In March, Ouattara announced he would not seek a third term. But he changed his mind after his preferred successor, prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died of a heart attack in July.

Ouattara and his supporters have argued that a 2016 revision of the constitution reset the limit on the number of terms.

Ivory Coast elections: Ouattara's economic record under scrutiny .
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara is seeking re-election on Saturday, campaigning on his record of economic growth and stability in a country shaken by a civil war nearly a decade ago. Analysts looking at Ouattara's claims say Ivory Coast's economy has indeed enjoyed strong growth -- the World Bank in August described it as "one of the best performing" south of the Sahara. But its weaknesses are widespread poverty and income inequality, the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainties of the presidential ballot itself.

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