four dead in violence linked to Alassane Ouattara’s candidacy

At least four people died on Wednesday and Thursday in Côte d’Ivoire in violence in connection with the controversial candidate for a third term by President Alassane Ouattara.

Violence linked to the controversial candidate for a third term by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has killed at least four people since Wednesday, August 12.

The situation becomes more and more tense with the election of October 31, ten years after the crisis born of the 2010 presidential election, which had killed 3,000 people and saw Alassane Ouattara come to power.

>> To read also: “Presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire: a very high tension survey”

The opposition and members of civil society called for demonstrations on Thursday after the authorities banned all gatherings for not respecting “proper procedures”.

In Bonoua, in the southeastern part of the country, the fortress of the former lady Simone Gbagbo, an 18-year-old young man was killed during clashes with the police. “Bonoua police station was ransacked by angry protesters,” testified Hervé Niamkey, a resident. The situation was tense on Thursday night in this city crossed by the international route connecting Abidjan with Ghana.

The day before, violence had killed three people in Daoukro, the fortress of former President Henri Konan Bédié, 86, a former ally in Ouattara but who considers his candidacy for a third term “illegal”. He himself was invested as a presidential candidate by the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), the main opposition formation.

The victims were killed in clashes between his supporters and young people who favored President Ouattara. “Calmness is slowly returning, but we apologize for three deaths,” said a security source, on condition of anonymity. Witnesses also reported three deaths.

“ADO, go out!”

Other clashes took place on Thursday between protesters and police, especially in the economic capital Abidjan. These demonstrations gathered several hundred people. “We are demonstrating for the resignation of President Ouattara, as his candidacy violates the Constitution. We do not want to accept a third term,” said Hervé Séka, in the Anono district.

In the popular district of Yopougon, clashes between police and protesters paralyzed traffic. In Port-Bouët, a district overlooking the sea that houses the port and Abidjan Airport, dozens of protesters blocked the main road, some holding up signs “ADO, get out!” having regard to the initials of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara.

In the exclusive neighborhood of Cocody, rebel checks had been carried out in large numbers. Police arrested a group of women singing Abidjanaise, the national anthem. The situation remained volatile in the rest of the country. Special events occurred in San Pedro, the country’s second port.

An official investment on August 22

This violence did not prevent the Rassemblement des houphouëtistes pour la democratie et la paix (RHDP), President Ouattara’s party, from announcing on Thursday that he would be officially invested as a candidate on August 22, during a large meeting in Abidjan.

President Alassane Ouattara, 78, was elected in 2010 against the outgoing head of state, Laurent Gbagbo. The latter refused to admit his defeat and threw the country into crisis until he was arrested by the forces of his rival, with the support of French and UN forces.

Alassane Ouattara was re-elected in 2015 and has been announced since March to send the baton to his prime minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, for the October election. But he died on July 8 of a heart attack. Following this death, Alassane Ouattara announced on August 6 that he would finally run for a third term.

The Ivorian constitution limits the number of consecutive presidential applications to two, but Alassane Ouattara believes the adoption of a new constitution in 2016 will allow him to stand as a candidate, which his opponent denies.

With AFP and Reuters