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Political Violence Erupts In Ivory Coast

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Political Violence Erupts In Ivory Coast

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Political Violence Erupts In Ivory Coast

Police face supporters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara. Troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo's regime mobilized to block an attempt to take over state television headquarters. Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

Police face supporters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara. Troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo's regime mobilized to block an attempt to take over state television headquarters.

Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

Update at 4:17 p.m. ET: The AP is now reporting that at least 20 people have died, and possibly as many as 30.


An unconfirmed report says that 18 people have died in political violence in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Thursday. The AP reports:

The toll of 18 dead cited by senior opposition official Amadou Coulibaly could not be immediately confirmed, and police could not be reached for comment. An Associated Press reporter saw at least three bodies in one neighborhood.

Human rights lawyer Traore Drissa put the number of dead at 15. The conflicting reports came out of a chaotic city that also saw an errant rocket-propelled grenade strike the United States Embassy.

Political Violence Erupts In Ivory Coast

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Ivory Coast — the world'slargest cocoa producer — has been locked in a tense political standoff over who will be the country's next president since a November 28 runoff resulted in claims of victory by both opposition leader Alassane Ouattara and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. International observers have backed Ouattara's claim to victory, while Gbagbo has largely held on to the government's levers of power.

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On Morning Edition, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton — who is in Abidjan — said that she ran into a group of Ouattara supporters today as they were being chased by security forces. Ofeibea's report:

The violence sparked by the competing presidential claims has many fearing a return to civil war. That 2002-2003 conflict split the West African nation of 20 million into two.