Ivory Coast President Blames Challenger for Dabou Killings

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara says the recent killings in the Dabou district were caused by militias hired by his former ally and now challenger Guillaume Soro.

“I have requested an investigation into these events,” Ouattara told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche. “Apparently, people from outside the city, militiamen, were mobilized by Guillaume Soro to create disorder and to show that the Ivory Coast was on fire and blood. We sent the police and a section of the army to clean up the area.”

The world’s top cocoa producer is headed for a tense presidential election on Oct. 31. The opposition is calling for a boycott of the ballot to protest against Ouattara’s bid for a third term, which they deem unconstitutional. Ouattara suspended his electoral campaign on Friday following the sudden death of Minister of Territorial Administration Sidiki Diakite, who had been central to the organization of the polls.

At least sixteen people were killed in the Dabou district, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the economic capital Abidjan. A government statement late Saturday laid blame on a civil disobedience campaign called by the opposition.

Ouattara told the French newspaper that the opposition’s goal was to launch a “coup,” and added he wasn’t ready to make more concessions to opponents. “My belief is that they don’t want to go to the elections. They’re betting on an extraordinary situation, a coup de force,” he said. He said Soro would be jailed.

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