Three opposition leaders in the Ivory Coast are under investigation for insurrection, murder and acts of terrorism after they rejected President Alassane Ouattara’s re-election for a contested third term and vowed to set up a rival government.
Ouattara, 78, won by a landslide in Saturday’s election, pitching the West African country into a political crisis with opponents who he say he violated a two-term presidential limit.
The three opposition chiefs under investigation were Maurice Kakou Guikahue, deputy leader of the main opposition party, who has been arrested, and Pascal Affi N’Guessan and ex-premier Abdallah Mabri Toikeusse.
Shortly after the announcement by the attorney general, former prime minister Affi N’Guessan was arrested from his home sometime between Friday night and Saturday.
“On 30 October 2020, I referred the matter to the chief magistrate to open a judicial enquiry into acts of terrorism, attacks and conspiracy against the authority of the State, murders, theft and violent robbery relating to electoral material and various other goods,” said the prosecutor of Abidjan Richard Adou.
“We are still at the stage of preliminary investigations,” he told reporters, adding, no indictments had been issued.
It iss feared the political tensions could morph into violence.
Security forces have blockaded the homes of several opposition chiefs in Abidjan after they called for civil disobedience and a boycott of the vote.
At least 40 people have been killed in clashes over Ouattara’s third term since August, reviving fears of post-election violence seen in 2010-2011 when fighting killed 3,000.
According to diplomatic and government sources, negotiations between the sides are going on behind the scenes but without results so far.
The UN, EU and African bloc ECOWAS have called for respect for the constitutional process and for dialogue to end the standoff.