Ivory Coast Rounds Up Opposition Leaders Accused of Terrorism
Ivory Coast authorities arrested a key opposition leader amid a wave of detentions targeting politicians who face terrorism and murder charges over their calls for a civil disobedience campaign and a transitional government.
The arrests and charges risk inflaming tensions in the world’s top cocoa grower, where the opposition and the government have been in a standoff over last week’s presidential election. The opposition boycotted the vote after arguing that the constitution barred President Alassane Ouattara -- who was declared the winner on Nov. 3 -- from seeking a third term.
The state is hitting back after the main opposition leader, Henri Konan Bedie, and his ally Pascal Affi N’Guessan urged their supporters to join a civil disobedience campaign in the run-up to the election and this week called for a transitional government to prepare fresh elections -- actions that Public Prosecutor Richard Adou said constituted crimes against the state.
“All the acts perpetrated and sponsored by the promoters” of the proposed transitional council have sought to “undermine the authority of the state in order to achieve the overthrow of the institutions of the republic,” he said in Abidjan, the commercial capital.
The whereabouts of Affi N’Guessan, who was seized by authorities late Friday night while heading to his hometown of Bongouanou, 195 kilometers (120 miles) north of Abidjan, are unknown, his wife Angeline Kili told Bloomberg Saturday.
Bedie is unable to leave his residence which has been surrounded by police, but does not face charges, Adou said.
Authorities raided Bedie’s home on Nov. 3, arresting 21 other people, nine of whom have since been released. They were still seeking Abdallah Albert Toikeusse Mabri, the leader of a smaller opposition party, as of Friday, Adou told reporters. Those prosecuted face life in prison if convicted, he said.
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