The house of a former prime minister of Ivory Coast has been burnt down during clashes less than two weeks before bitterly contested elections. It is not clear who was behind the attack on the residence of Pascal Affi Nguessan in his stronghold of Bongouanou. One of the town’s schools was also destroyed, a teacher told the BBC. Mr Nguessan and former President Henri Konan Bédié announced this week they would boycott the 31 October elections.
President Alassane Ouattara, vying for a third term in office, has rejected their demands to postpone the vote and hold talks. He initially said he would stand down but after his preferred successor, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died of a heart attack in July, he reversed his position. There are fears that the election could reignite conflict in the country, which is slowly recovering from a civil war sparked by a dispute over the 2010 election, won by Mr Ouattara.