Ivory Coast opposition leader Pascal Affi N’Guessan arrested for creating rival government

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, sits in front of Pascal Affi N’Guessan, President of FPI (Ivorian Popular Front) and Former Ivory Coast President Henri Konan Bedie, president of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI), during a meeting with Ivorian opposition coalition parties in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast opposition leader and former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan was under arrest on Saturday for creating a rival government after President Alassane Ouattara’s election victory, his wife and a spokeswoman said.

Ivorian prosecutors are pursuing terrorism charges against more than a dozen opposition leaders who boycotted the October 31 vote in which Ouattara won a third term in office and announced they were creating a transitional council.

The standoff has raised fears of protracted instability in the world’s top cocoa producer, whose disputed 2010 presidential election led to a brief civil war. More than 40 people have died in clashes before and since the latest vote.

Affi was arrested overnight after the public prosecutor confirmed on Friday that he was being sought by the police, his wife, Angeline Kili, said.

“I confirm that my husband was arrested during the night but I don’t know where he is right now,” she said.

Genevieve Goetzinger, a spokeswoman for Affi, said on Twitter he was arrested in the southeastern town of Akoupe while en route to his hometown of Bongouanou.

Affi served as prime minister from 2000-2003 under President Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to concede defeat to Ouattara after the 2010 election sparked a civil war which killed 3,000 people.

The opposition claims Ouattara has violated the constitution by seeking a third term. Ouattara says approval of a new constitution in 2016 restarted his mandate and allowed him to run again.

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