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COTE D'IVOIRE: Police arrest scores outside politician's home

Abidjan, 15 September 1999 (IRIN) - Ivorian police on Tuesday arrested a number of people outside the
residence of opposition politician Alassane Ouattara following an incident there between some of his supporters and officials of the Judicial Police.

In a broadcast on Tuesday on state-run television, Security Minister Marcel Kone said Ouattara's supporters beat up policemen who had gone to deliver a letter to the politician from the public prosecutor, forcing them to flee.

The letter, published on Wednesday in the official daily `Fraternite Matin', informed Ouattara, chair of the Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR), that he would be questioned on Thursday by police regarding the
authenticity of some of his documents.

Ouattara's supporters seized and tore up the letter, Kone stated in a communique issued on Tuesday and also published in the official daily. Kone said extra gendarmes were then sent to the scene, a plush neighbourhood in Abidjan, where they arrested "several individuals armed with rifles, knives, axes, catapults and clubs".

Ouattara was prime minister under late President Felix Houphouet-Boigny. He has indicated his intention to contest next year's presidential polls but the state says he is ineligible since he is not an Ivoirian citizen of Ivoirian parentage.

After he produced documents in an attempt to prove his citizenship and parentage, an investigation was launched by the Justice Ministry into the authenticity of the documents.

Following rumours that he was to be arrested, scores of his supporters had congregated at his home this week.

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[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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