At least two people were killed as rival supporters clashed in Bongouanou (Moronou region) on Friday, October 16. One government and one opposition supporter died in the clashes and several others were injured. Shops, vehicles, and houses were set on fire, including the home of former prime minister Pascal Affi Nguessan. Nguessan announced this week that he will boycott the October 31 election.
Further unrest is expected in Bongouanou and across Côte d'Ivoire in the coming days ahead of the election. Clashes are likely to be violent and result in casualties. As a result, a heightened security presence is expected to be witnessed across the country.
President Alassane Ouattara announced on August 7 that he would be standing for a third term in presidential elections scheduled to be held on October 31. The president had been expected to stand down at the end of his current term, but the sudden death of his would-be successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, on July 8 left the ruling RHDP coalition with no clear candidate going into the polls. However, Ouattara's decision to stand again has been opposed by multiple opposition and civil society groups. Unrest linked to the issue has resulted in several fatalities and dozens of arrests in recent weeks.
On Thursday, October 15, the Côte d'Ivoire political opposition called for a boycott of the upcoming presidential election. The opposition has also called for civil disobedience during the course of the campaigning season, which started on Thursday. Observers state that there is a risk of the election descending into chaos and violence, resembling the 2010-2011 election where 3000 people died and half a million were displaced.
Those in Côte d'Ivoire are advised to monitor developments and remain apprised of the political situation in the country. Travelers should avoid all public demonstrations and political gatherings as a precaution, avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public, and heed all instructions issued by local authorities.
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