Ivory Coast opposition leader arrested after disputed election

The Ivorian opposition leader and former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan has been placed under arrest for creating a rival government after President Alassane Ouattara’s election victory, his wife and a spokeswoman have said.

Prosecutors in Ivory Coast are pursuing terrorism charges against more than a dozen opposition leaders who boycotted the 31 October vote in which Ouattara won a third term in office and announced they were creating a transitional council.

The standoff has raised fears of protracted instability in the world’s top cocoa producer, whose disputed 2010 presidential election led to a brief civil war. More than 40 people have died in clashes before and since the latest vote.

N’Guessan was arrested overnight after the public prosecutor confirmed on Friday that he was being sought by the police, his wife, Angeline Kili, told Reuters.

“I confirm that my husband was arrested during the night, but I don’t know where he is right now,” she said.

Geneviève Goëtzinger, a spokeswoman for N’Guessan, said on Twitter he was arrested in the south-eastern town of Akoupé while en route to his home town, Bongouanou.

The police were not immediately available for comment.

N’Guessan served as prime minister from 2000-2003 under President Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to concede defeat to Ouattara after the 2010 election led to a civil war that killed an estimated 3,000 people.

The opposition claims Ouattara has violated the constitution by seeking a third term. Ouattara says approval of a new constitution in 2016 restarted his mandate and allowed him to run again.


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