Presidential candidate N’Guessan’s house burned down and several were injured in Bongounou.
The house of an opposition presidential candidate was burned to the ground in clashes in Ivory Coast on Saturday, two weeks before the presidential election.
The violence began on Friday in Bongouanou, the stronghold of opposition candidate and former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, when residents of different ethnic groups fought with machetes while homes and businesses were set on fire.
“They burned my house,” N’Guessan told AFP on Saturday. “The people were transported from Abidjan. You have targeted the property of opposition leaders. “
Residents told AFP that people from the local Agni ethnic group were fighting against Dioula from northern Ivory Coast who support current President Alassane Ouattara.
“The situation is untenable. We have many wounded people who are being taken to hospital, ”said Mathieu, who lives in Bongouanou.
About 15 people were killed in intermunicipal violence across the country in August and September after Ouattara announced his intention to run for a third term.
In the meantime, dozens of potential candidates have been excluded from the election, including former President Laurent Gbagbo and ex-rebel chief Guillaume Soro.
In a move towards a possible boycott, the opposition called on supporters on Thursday not to participate in election rallies and campaigns.
Several high-profile personalities, including N’Guessan, have also called for “civil disobedience” in recent weeks.
Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko condemned the riots on Saturday and warned the opposition they would provoke violence.
“We’ll be pretty adamant,” said Bakayoko. “If you are responsible for violence against people, against public or private property, sooner or later you have to pay, there will be a trial.”
Ouattara and his supporters have argued that a 2016 revision of the constitution rolled back the limit on the number of terms in office [Luc Gnago/Reuters]Ouattara officially launched its campaign on Friday, reaching thousands at a rally in the country’s second largest city, Bouake.
In addition to Ouattara and N’Guessan, former President Henri Konan Bedie and former MP Kouadio Konan Bertin are running for election on October 31.
In March, Ouattara announced that he would not seek a third term. But he changed his mind after his preferred successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died of a heart attack in July.
Ouattara and his supporters have argued that a 2016 revision of the constitution rolled back the limit on the number of terms in office.