Post-election clashes in Ivory Coast kill three, wound dozens, sources say

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Three people were killed and over 30 wounded on Tuesday in violent clashes in an opposition stronghold in Ivory Coast, three local authority sources said, as tensions ran high in the wake of a contested presidential election.

The violence broke out in the south-central town of M’Batto after protests by the area’s many opposition supporters led to a standoff with residents loyal to President Alassane Ouattara, who won the Oct. 31 vote by a landslide after an opposition boycott.

“The death toll we can provide on these community clashes is three killed by machetes and gunshot wounds and around 34 wounded,” a local police source said.

A source at the local hospital and another in local government confirmed the number of casualties.

There was no immediate comment from the central authorities.

M’Batto, a provincial hub, is seen as largely loyal to opposition candidate and ex-Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who was arrested on Friday. He and other opposition leaders face terrorism charges for denouncing the vote and creating a rival government.

The bitter standoff over Ouattara’s bid for a third term has raised fears of protracted instability in the world’s top cocoa producer. A disputed 2010 presidential election led to a brief civil war.

The latest bloodshed in M’batto follows the death of over 40 people in clashes before and after the vote.

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