The following report highlights a planned news conference by the State Prosecutor on the 2020 presidential election violence, a brief visit in Abidjan by a French presidential candidate, COVID-19 update, the security forces readiness to combat terrorism in the north, and reactions to the Government’s decision to send several students to a camp for reformation. The report includes background information to add context to the news items.


State Prosecutor To Hold News Conference on 2020 Post Election Violence

Ivoirian media reported that State Prosecutor Richard Adou is scheduled to give a news conference on the violence occurred during the October 2020 presidential election in Cote d’Ivoire. Other media outlets added that opposition leaders Henri Konan Bedie and Pascal Affi Nguessan could be charged for their alleged role in the event that claimed at least 80 lives.

Background: Following a decision by President Alassane Ouattara to run for a third term in October 2020, opposition parties including the Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire (PDCI) of Bedie and the Ivoirian Popular Front (FPI) of Affi, called for a civil disobedience to protest Ouattara’s decision. Bedie and Affi also launched a National Transition Council to oppose Ouattara’s reelection.

French Presidential Candidate Visits Abidjan

Media reported that Eric Zemmour, a candidate for the April 2022 presidential election in France, made a brief visit in Abidjan. The source said that Zemmour initially planned to visit Mali, but the command of the French forces in Mali refused to welcome him, probably following instructions by the French authorities. According to the report, the French Embassy to Cote d’Ivoire refused to officially welcome Zemmour, although it facilitated his visa obtention. President Alassane did not meet with Zemmour either.

Background: Eric Zemmour is a far-right presidential candidate, who initially planned to meet with French soldiers stationed in the northern region of Gao, Mali. He, however, met with French troops in Abidjan.


COVID-19 Update as of 26 December

According to the Ministry of Health, the health authorities recorded 582 new positive cases of 2,195 samples (26.5 percent). The figure represents the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Cote d’Ivoire since the beginning of the pandemic.


Defense Minister Says Ivoirian Security Forces Ready To Combat Terrorism, Others

Media reports quoted Defense Minister Tene Birahima Ouattara as saying that the Ivoirian security forces are “on the right track” in northern Cote d’Ivoire to combat terrorism, illegal mining, transnational illicit trafficking, maritime piracy, and cybercrime.

Background: The Defense Minister made the statement during a ceremony marking the donation of various equipment to the Ivoirian Defense and Security Forces. The donation included uniforms, bags, and shoes, among others, for the 40,000 men composing the Defense and Security Forces.


Journalist, Representative Criticize Reporting on Students in Reformation Camp

Journalist Andre Silver Konan on 26 December published on his Facebook page with more than 548,000 two separate posts. In the first post, he criticizes the government for sending the state-owned RTI television to a camp where several dozens of high school students have been sent for reformation. For Konan, making those students appear on TV will turn them into heroes and encourage many others to pose the same defiant acts next year in order to have the opportunity to appear on TV. In the second post, Konan publishes a picture of Yopougon Representative Michel Gbagbo who complains the violation of the rights of the students in that the television failed to protect the identities of those young boys and girls and should not have showed their faces and names. The two posts garnered a total of 940 comments, 1,540 sentiments. On the post criticizing the “useless publicity” offered to the students, comments were balanced between supporters and opponents of Konan’s stance. However, on MP Gbagbo’s criticism, the majority of users opined that it does not matter if the identity of those students is not protected because they were not masked when they attacked schools to unseat their friends. Others said as an opposition leader, Michel Gbagbo should just congratulate the government. Many other Facebook pages published pictures and videos on the same story.

Context: Those students were randomly arrested in some towns of the interior for organizing violent demonstrations to demand early vacation shortly before Christmas. They were sent in the small town of Bimbresso (south) to undergo some military-like training and learn the core values of civic-mindedness.

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