For several days, violent clashes have shaken Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Nigeria, causing the death of dozens of people. For the first two countries, the tensions are linked to an electoral deadline. For the latter, the protest, which is widely followed abroad, focuses on police brutality. Explanations.
Inter-community clashes in Côte d’Ivoire
Ten days before the presidential election, Côte d’Ivoire is plunged into a new political crisis. At least seven people died and around 40 were injured in intercommunal clashes around Dabou, 50 km west of Abidjan.
According to residents, the first unrest began on Monday and degenerated into intercommunal clashes on Tuesday between Adioukrous (local ethnic group, known to be favorable to the opposition) and Dioulas (northern ethnic group deemed to be pro-power). The toll could grow even worse. The prefect, the mayor of Dabou as well as witnesses mentioned assault rifle fire. About 20 people have died since August.
President Alassane Ouattara, in power since 2010, is running for a controversial third term, while the candidacies of several opposition figures have been invalidated. In Abidjan, the Ivorian opposition considered that the West African mediation mission that came to Abidjan before the presidential election was a “failure” and asked its activists to step up their actions of “civil disobedience”. The opposition calls in particular for an overhaul of the independent electoral commission (CEI) and of the Constitutional Council which it considers “subservient to power”.
The main political players in the 2010-2011 crisis are still in the foreground: ex-president Henri Konan Bédié, now leader of the opposition, is a candidate, while the candidacies of Laurent Gbagbo and the ex-leader of the rebellion which was opposed to him, Guillaume Soro (ex-ally of Ouattara who became an opponent) were invalidated.
Post-election riots in Guinea
The ballot is over in neighboring Guinea, but even before the results are announced, clashes fracture the country. While the first counts give the advantage, Wednesday was marked by the death of at least nine people (eight civilians and a police officer).
AFP journalists have witnessed flaming barricades on the roadway, stone throwing by young opposition supporters and the response of the police with slingshots and tear gas, in working-class neighborhoods from the capital.
The leader of the opposition, Cellou Dalein Diallo, accuses the authorities of being responsible for this violence, and of wanting to steal the victory from him via “a large-scale fraud”. The former Prime Minister (2004-2006) proclaimed himself the winner on Monday and says he himself won 53% of the vote according to the results collected by his party. He says he has been kept “prisoner” since Tuesday by a strong police deployment.
On social media, his supporters have reported a higher number of deaths, including a three-year-old girl and a young girl. This information could not be verified immediately from an independent source.
Repression of peaceful protests in Nigeria
Fires, clashes, sporadic gunfire: the situation remained extremely tense on Wednesday in Lagos, the day after the repression of peaceful demonstrations which killed 12 according to Amnesty.
Ten people died at the Lekki tollgate, in southern Lagos, and two in Alausa. The Lekki toll is the epicenter of the popular protest that has shaken Nigeria for nearly two weeks, Africa’s leading economic power, and the most populous country on the continent. Thousands of young people demonstrate against police violence and the power in place accused of bad governance. To date, at least 30 people, including two police officers, have died in these protests.
The international community has unanimously condemned this violence, the EU deeming “crucial that those responsible for these abuses be brought to justice”, the UN calling for “an end to brutality and police abuse in Nigeria”. “If reports of the lighting and surveillance cameras being turned off before the shooting were to be confirmed, this could suggest that this attack on peaceful protesters was premeditated, planned and coordinated,” said the High Commissioner. -UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.
On Wednesday the sprawling Lagos was emptied of its 20 million inhabitants, asked to stay at home while a total curfew was imposed. The Nigerian army has denied being behind the shooting, denouncing “fake news”. President Muhammadu Buhari confined himself to recalling his commitment “to reform the police”, calling again “for calm”, without a word on the attack on Lekki, already renamed “Bloody Tuesday”.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr