Ivory Coast Frees 69 People Detained over Election Violence

No fewer than 69 people Ivoriens arrested and detained in the violence that marred the 2020 presidential election have been released in the country.

About 100 people died in the violence linked to the October election in which President Alassane Ouattara, 78, won a third term with over 94 per cent of the poll.

Opposition parties had boycotted the election, saying the country’s constitution limited presidents to two terms in office. Ouattara supporters, however, said a constitutional referendum in 2016 has created a reset of his terms in office, making the two-term limit inapplicable to him.

As tension mounted and the opposition’s call for non-violent resistance to Ouattara’s ambition turned violent, authorities in Ivory Coast arrested over 100 people.

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But judicial authorities at the weekend freed dozens of people arrested during the election process, Ouattara announced in a broadcast.

Nine people convicted of offenses committed during similar events were also pardoned

“The examination of the situation of other people still detained continuing,” he said.

According to prosecutors, 102 people were still being held over the violence, indicating that roughly 20 people remain in custody.

Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bedie, both former presidents and opposition leaders, requested the release of the prisoners.

Gbagbo asked for the release of more than 100 people, including some who were involved in another round of electoral violence in 2010 and 2011. He describes the detainees as political prisoners.

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