12 people arrested in Côte d’Ivoire over DJ Arafat’s tomb desecration

The incident took place Saturday following an overnight funeral concert at Abidjan’s main stadium
12 people arrested in Cote d'Ivoire over DJ Arafat's tomb desecration

Ivorian police have detained 12 people as part of a probe into the desecration of DJ Arafat’s tomb after fans opened the music star’s coffin to take photos of him hours after his burial, officials said Monday.

The incident took place Saturday following an overnight funeral concert at Abidjan’s main stadium, where tens of thousands paid tribute to the singer who died aged 33 in a motorbike crash last month.

Events took a dark turn when fans tried to enter the Williamsville cemetery where the singer’s family had given him a private burial, prompting clashes with police.

Several people made it past security, forced open the fresh grave and coffin, and took photos and videos that they shared on social media.

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Police fired teargas to disperse the grave profaners, and several people were injured, witnesses told reporters.

“A probe has been opened and will be made public,” state prosecutor Richard Adou told reporters. 

Abidjan’s prefecture, meanwhile, confirmed that 12 had been detained following the incident.

DJ Arafat, whose given name was Ange Didier Houon, was one of the most popular African musicians in the Francophone world, and had been referred to as the “king” of coupe-decale (cut and run), an Ivorian form of dance music. 

News of his death had led to scenes of hysteria among some of his fans and Twitter tributes from fellow artists. President Alassane Ouattara called him “a youth icon and ambassador of Ivorian music and culture”.

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