News24

3 killed in Ivorian blast

2011-12-08 16:42

Abidjan - Three people were killed and three others wounded following a rocket blast at an election campaign rally on Wednesday in south-west Ivory Coast, the West African nation's defence minister said on Thursday.

Paul Koffi Koffi said the incident, which occurred in Grand-Lahou about 100km west of the commercial capital Abidjan, was being investigated by authorities.

"This is not an act of destabilisation," Koffi Koffi said.

The country is recovering from a power struggle in late 2010 and early 2011 that killed some 3 000 people and displaced more than a million.

The rocket exploded in a yard near where supporters of a candidate for Sunday's legislative election were gathered, killing a girl and two boys, a regional administrator said.

"It could be an accident or as an act of intimidation (against the candidate). The investigation is ongoing and the perpetrators have not been found yet," the administrator said, requesting not to be named.

A politician in the Grand-Lahou region, who also requested not to be named, said candidates campaigning for parliamentary seats travel with armed guards and one of them may have fired the rocket.

Despite the end of post-election conflict in April following the arrest of former president Laurent Gbagbo, there are still security concerns in the country over unrecovered weapons that were distributed to militias.

Gbagbo has appeared at the International Criminal Court at The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity, including murder and rape.