15.08.2020 Africa

Deadly clashes as I. Coast leader seeks reelection

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Five people have been killed and over 100 injured in three days of street clashes following President Alassane Ouattara's decision to seek a third term, the government said Friday, urging calm.

Outtara's election announcement sparked fury among his critics, as he can only run a third time by arguing that a constitutional change entitles him to reset the clock.

Earlier Friday security sources said six were killed in the violence, but Security Minister Vagondo Diomande later said the protests have caused "five deaths with 104 injured".

Ten police officers and two gendarmes were among the injured, he added, calling for "return to calm throughout the national territory".

Ouattara, 78, announced last week that he would contest the October 31 presidential elections, a move that came after his anointed successor Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly died of a heart attack.

There have been a total of 68 arrests for crimes including disturbing public order, inciting violence and destroying property, during the three days of violence, minister Diomande said.

Earlier Friday police announced a death in Gagnoa, birth place of former president Laurent Gbagbo.

"We deplore one death in clashes last night and today between those for and against a third mandate" for Ouattara, the town's mayor Yssouf Diabate told AFP.

He said there were injured on both sides as well but that calm had returned to the streets.

October's presidential vote will take place in a country still scarred by a low-level civil war that erupted in 2011 when former strongman Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to Ouattara after losing elections.

The ensuing unrest claimed some 3,000 lives and split the country along north-south lines.

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