Ethnic Clashes In Ivory Coast Opposition Stronghold Ahead Of Poll

The home of an opposition presidential candidate has been burned down during clashes in Ivory Coast, two weeks before the country’s high-stakes presidential election.

Violence began in Bongouanou, the stronghold of opposition candidate and former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, as residents from different ethnic groups fighting while houses and shops were set on fire.

Residents said that people from the local Agni ethnic group were fighting Dioula people from northern Ivory Coast, who back current President Alassane Ouattara.

At least two people were killed, according to a report citing witnesses.

Reports had it that in Bongouanou itself many shops and restaurants were looted and set on fire, and several cars were torched.

About 15 people were killed in inter-communal violence in August and September across the country after Ouattara announced his intention to run for a third term.

Meanwhile, dozens of prospective candidates were barred from the election, including former president Laurent Gbagbo and ex-rebel chief Guillaume Soro.

In a step towards a potential boycott, the opposition asked supporters on Thursday not to take part in electoral events and campaigning.

Several high-profile figures, including N’Guessan, have also called for “civil disobedience” in recent weeks.

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