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Francophone games start in Ivory Coast amid security fears

Fireworks illuminate the night sky above Felix Houphouet SIA KAMBOU / AFP | Boigny Stadium during the opening ceremony for the 8th Francophonie Games July 21, 2017 in Abidjan.

Thousands of young athletes launched the International Francophone Games in Abidjan on Friday after a series of shootings in Ivory Coast's main city that raised security concerns.


The 10-day Jeux de la Francophonie is held every four years and includes cultural exchanges while aiming to promote the French language.

The Games will include basketball, football, wrestling and cycling, among other sports. Among the cultural activities on tap will be photography, dance, painting and puppetry.

Up to 48 nations will take part and organisers hope the event will reach a global television audience of millions.

The Games began amid renewed tension in the West African state arising from months of military mutinies. On Wednesday gunmen, some in uniform, attacked an elite security unit base in Abidjan, killing an officer, stealing weapons and then fighting security forces in another district.


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