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Violence flares as Ivory Coast tensely awaits election results

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-12-03

Ivory Coast is still impatiently waiting the results of the presidential election that was supposed to bring peace to the troubled West African nation. Overnight violence, in which up to eight people were killed, has further blackened the outlook.

Up to eight people were killed in overnight violence in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan, amid tension over the delayed results of the presidential run-off vote.

The attacks took place at the offices of rival candidates Alassane Ouattara and incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo on Wednesday night and Thursday morning in Abidjan.

FRANCE 24’s Francois Picard, reporting from Abidjan, said: “At about 10pm, after the curfew and just before the deadline for the announcement of the results, supporters of … Gbagbo ransacked the local offices of opposition candidate [Ouattara] in a district that voted overwhelmingly for Gbagbo.

“Reprisals came at 6am with Ouattara supporters ransacking a local office of the ruling party.”

Eyewitnesses told FRANCE 24 that they saw traces of blood while police reported that at least 12 people were injured, some with bullet wounds.

Ouattara's party has accused incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo - whose mandate ended in 2005 but who has remained in power - of trying to steal the election.

Gbagbo supporters have stopped the commission from announcing results, claiming there were incidents of voting fraud in four of the country’s 19 regions, and are calling for the count there to be annulled.

Results have been ‘consolidated’

The electoral commission had announced that all the results had been consolidated in the early hours of the morning, and that it was on the cusp of making its announcement, Picard reported.

“The question is where and when the president of the commission will announce the result,” he said. Gbagbo’s camp has said it will submit requests for the annulment of votes in several northern districts, denouncing a “masquerade” intended to favour opponent Ouattara.

The election, which international observers said was conducted correctly, was expected to restore stability to Ivory Coast.

Amid the tensions, the country has been under curfew since last Saturday night.
The vote was the first in a decade and follows a civil war in 2002-2003 that split the country in two, leaving the northern half in the hands of the anti-Gbagbo New Force rebels.

Gbagbo, whose five-year mandate officially expired in 2005, has stayed in office while claiming elections were impossible because of the war.

 

Date created : 2010-12-02

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