The run-up to parliamentary elections in the Ivory Coast was marred by a rocket attack Wednesday, which killed three people and seriously wounded three others. The blast rocked the town of Grand-Lahou just days before a Democratic Party rally.
AFP - Three people were killed and three wounded in a rocket attack in Ivory Coast on Wednesday ahead of a political party rally just days before parliamentary elections, the defence ministry said.
“Someone fired a rocket into a (residential) courtyard, killing three and seriously injuring three,” spokesman Captain Leon Alla Kouakou said.
The blast took place in Grand-Lahou, a coastal town about 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of the capital Abidjan, as supporters of the country’s Democratic Party prepared for a meeting.
“Tables and chairs were being put in place when the attack happened,” Kouakou said. “Up to now, the (election) campaign had been running smoothly in Grand Lahou without any incidents.”
“We’re all surprised,” he added, appealing for calm for the rest of the campaign.
The attacker had not been captured.
The Democratic Party supports President Alassane Ouattara, who was sworn into office in May after a contested election battle with former president Laurent Gbagbo.
Gbagbo refused to accept Ouattara’s victory in the 2010 polls and is accused of committing crimes against humanity in an ensuing period of civil unrest in which about 3,000 people died.
Gbagbo’s party has said it will boycott Sunday’s parliamentary elections. He was last month transferred to the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.
Ouattara’s camp expects to win the majority of the 255 seats in parliament in Sunday’s polls. About 5.7 million are registered to vote.
Security in the country has improved but remains fragile, especially in the west, which bore the brunt of the post-poll killings.
Some 25,000 Ivory Coast security personnel will be deployed for Sunday’s elections, supported by 7,000 members of the United Nations mission to the country.