Ivory Coast Opposition Leader Arrested for Treason

Nguessan ran for president for the Ivorian Popular Front party before announcing a boycott and calling for “civil disobedience.”

Ivory Coast opposition leader, Pascal Affi Nguessan, has been arrested for announcing the creation of a parallel government after boycotting last month’s presidential election.

The former prime minister was said to be detained in the South-Eastern town of Akoupe.

Nguessan ran for president for the Ivorian Popular Front party before announcing a boycott and calling for “civil disobedience.”

He previously served as prime minister from 2000-03 under President Laurent Gbagbo.

Read also: Five Die In Ivory Coast Election Day Clashes

Several opposition leaders face charges of terrorism and insurrection after rejecting President Alassane Ouattara’s re-election. They say he violated the constitution by seeking a third term, but President Ouattara has defended his decision, saying a new constitution in 2016 restarted his mandate, meaning he could run again. He won 94% of the vote in the 31 October poll.

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After announcing a National Council for Transition (CNT) last week, the homes of several opposition leaders in the main city, Abidjan, were blockaded by security forces.

At least 40 people have been killed in clashes since August, reviving fears that the country could spiral into post-election violence.

Ivory Coast was plunged into a civil war in 2010 after President Gbagbo refused to concede electoral defeat to Ouattara in that year’s elections, and more than 3,000 people lost their lives.

Related: Ivory Coast election authorities reject Gbagbo, Soro appeals to run in October

Nguessan’s wife, Angeline Kili, said that he had been detained soon after public prosecutors confirmed that police were looking for him. She said she did not know where he was being held.

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However, Genevieve Goetzinger, a spokesperson for Mr Nguessan, said on her Twitter handle that he had been arrested in Akoupe, at the gates of Moronou, while travelling to his hometown of Bongouanou.

Last month, Opposition Leader Nguessan and former President Henri Konan Bédié announced that they will boycott the elections.

President Ouattara had rejected their demands to postpone the vote and hold talks.

Read: Ivory Coast Holds Presidential Election

He initially said he will stand down but after his preferred successor, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died of a heart attack in July, he reversed his position.

The UN, African Union and West African bloc Ecowas, in a joint statement have called on all political groups to exercise dialogue and restraint.

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