Clashes over Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara’s re-election killed at least six people Monday as the country’s top court validated his contested third-term victory.
Ouattara, 78, won more than 94 percent of the vote, but Ivory Coast is caught in a standoff after opposition leaders boycotted the ballot and vowed to set up a rival government in protest over a mandate they see as illegal.
Around 50 people have been killed in violence since August and two opposition chiefs have been arrested, fuelling fears that Ivory Coast could slide into the kind of widespread unrest it suffered after a disputed 2010 vote.
New clashes between rival ethnic communities broke out on Monday in central eastern Daoukro, the fiefdom of opposition chief Henri Konan Bedie, officials said. Deadly violence also erupted there in the lead up to the October 31 election.
“Inter-community clashes in Daoukro left three dead and 41 wounded on Monday,” local government administrator Solange Aka said.
She said one person had been decapitated and another burned as protesters barricaded roads.
Regional council president Adam Kolia Traore confirmed the toll.
Three more people were killed in central Elibou during clashes between security forces and protesters blocking a highway, local residents said. Officials did not immediately confirm those deaths however.
Much of the violence has descended into fighting between local ethnic groups allied with the opposition and Dioula communities seen as close to Ouattara, himself a Muslim from the north.
The opposition had called for supporters to mobilise before Monday’s constitutional council ruling to ratify election results and validate Ouattara’s third mandate.