At least five dead in Ivory Coast election clashes, say officials

ABIDJAN: At least five people died and many others were wounded in election day clashes in opposition strongholds in Ivory Coast, officials said on Sunday.

The country was spared the kind of widespread violence that many feared would erupt during voting on Saturday, as President Alassane Ouattara seeks a third term that his opponents say is unconstitutional.

Opponents of 78-year-old Ouattara say he is breaking the law by running again because the constitution limits presidents to two terms, and risks shattering the fragile peace that has been in place since a civil war killed 3,000 people in 2010-11.

The streets of the country’s economic engine, Abidjan, were quiet on Sunday, as they had been on election day, as many stayed at home for fear of violence. Some had already left the commercial capital for villages in the provinces ahead of the vote.

However, some areas did see violence, and the atmosphere remained tense ahead of partial results expected on Sunday. “Young armed men from the surrounding villages ... fired on the other young people,” said Germain N’Dri Koffi, mayor of the town of Tiebissou in the centre of the country, the heartland of opposition candidate, former president Henri Konan Bedie. - Reuters