Opposition vow to defy curfew in Ivory Coast poll

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Opposition vow to defy curfew in Ivory Coast poll

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Sunday’s election in Ivory Coast will test whether the African country can turn the page after a decade of conflict and north-south division.

Burkina Faso’s president held last minute mediation talks with both candidates.

The incumbent Laurent Gbagbo is squaring off against his rival Alassane Ouattara from the rebel-controlled north.

Last month’s first round vote gave the president a six-point lead.

At least three people were reported killed in Abidjan yesterday when police opened fire on a crowd. The days in the run-up to the poll have seen clashes and rising tension.

The army’s chief of staff, General Philippe Mangou, has said a night-time curfew will be enforced over the next four days.

“If we don’t take protective measures, we risk getting to a state of general insurrection which may be the prelude to instability,” he said.

The opposition has said it will not observe the curfew, suspecting it to be a ploy to allow vote rigging.

The election has taken five years of difficult negotiations to bring about.

The UN is to send a further 500 peacekeeping troops for a month after the poll.