At least sixteen people were killed in an Ivory Coast town ahead of the October 31 presidential elections, according to a government statement, laying blame on a civil disobedience campaign called by the opposition.
Sporadic incidents of violence have been reported across the country, but the Dabou district, about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the economic capital Abidjan, has seen the highest death toll and reported a further 67 injuries. More than 50 people were arrested between October 19 and 21, it said.
“The government notes with regret that this civil disobedience results in acts constituting criminal offenses,” according to the statement.
The world’s top cocoa producer is headed for tense polls amid opposition calls for a boycott of the electoral process against President Alassane Ouattara’s bid for a third term they deem unconstitutional.
Ouattara suspended his electoral campaign following the sudden death of Minister of Territorial Administration Sidiki Diakite, who had been central to the organisation of the polls.