Deadly violence erupts in Ivory Coast after Ouattara’s third-term bid

President Alassane Ouattara’s decision to contest a third term has triggered outrage among opposition and civil society groups. Issouf SANOGO AFP/File

At least two people were killed in ethnic clashes in Ivory Coast following President Alassane Ouattara’s controversial announcement he would run for a third term, a hospital source and local residents said Sunday.

Young opposition supporters on Saturday took to the streets to voice loud and violent protest in several major cities, especially the southern cocoa growing hub of Divo, after Ouattara accepted his party’s nomination for the October poll.

“One person evacuated to the regional hospital succumbed to their injuries and died this morning,” said a hospital source in Divo, adding that “several were badly wounded with machetes”.

Several local people also said they had seen the body of a teenager killed in a fire in a local bar.

Ouattara was officially anointed as candidate by his ruling RHDP despite having already served two terms — the maximum permitted under the constitution — since 2010.

He had planned to hand the reins to Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, but his presumed successor died of a heart attack in July.

Six people had already died in violence following Ouattara’s August 6 announcement that he would run again, while 100 were hurt.

The president and his supporters say a 2016 constitutional tweak has reset the clock on the two-term limit.

“Going back on my decision was not easy” but “there is nothing preventing me from standing,” Ouattara said Saturday.

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