A few weeks after bloody intercommunal clashes in Beoumi, violence erupted Thursday in the department of Zuenoula (center, 100 km west of the capital Yamoussoukro) after the killing, according to several witnesses, a traditional leader dismissed by the prefect.
The clashes arose from rivalry between local leaders. "Chief Robert Djè Bi Djè was killed by a gun in the night from Wednesday to Thursday. Some of his relatives believe that it is an assassination, this is the reason for their revolt, "said a resident of the city, Soro Porikaha.
According to several witnesses, hundreds of angry supporters ransacked Zuenoula prefecture and paralyzed the city on Thursday. One source indicates that the assassinated chief, who was also chairman of the department's chiefs, had been stripped of his duties by the city's prefect who had appointed another chief in his stead.
"A local quarrel"
The tension was still high this Friday because the supporters of the assassinated leader "are still looking for the prefect", according to Soro Porikaha. "It's essentially a local quarrel. One group did not like the dismissal of the chef Robert Djè Bi Djè, who was appointed, however, through customary rhythms as a chef. Their anger grew with his assassination, "said a resident professor in Zuenoula, preferring to remain anonymous.
These incidents occur less than a month after intercommunity violence which ravaged the town of Béoumi, within 100 kilometers away, resulting in 14 dead and a hundred wounded. An altercation between a Malinke taxi-bus driver and a Baule motor-taxi driver was at the origin of the latest violence.
Seven of the fourteen victims of Béoumi were buried Friday, during a ceremony that was held under strong protection of the security forces (military, gendarmes, police) and in the presence of the Minister of Communication Sidi Touré and traditional leaders from the city. Hundreds of inhabitants of the agglomeration, where all the shops were closed, attended the funeral.
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