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30 police officers injured in Benin protests

30 police officers injured in Benin protests

Benin

In former president Boni Yayi’s home town of Tchaourou, “small groups used handmade rifles and knives to seriously wound about 30 officers,” said Interior Minister Sacca Lafia, adding that calm had returned.

About 30 members of the security forces were wounded in northern Benin, where supporters of the former president set up barricades. The police fired live ammunition, the Interior Minister said Friday night on Saturday.

According to a local witness, residents fled the city to take refuge in nearby villages. Denied reports since then had reported deaths among demonstrators on Thursday, and several people on the ground told AFP that the police had fired live ammunition.

About 30 members of the security forces were wounded in northern Benin, where supporters of the former president and opponent Boni Yayi set up barricades.

Boni Yayi’s supporters, who have been under house arrest in Cotonou since 1 May and post-election violence – which left at least 4 people dead according to Amnesty International, 7 dead according to the opposition – also set fire to the police station and blocked the main road, according to the Interior Minister.

“To clear the way, agents were sent. At[the city of] Savè, they were taken away by other small groups who also erected barricades,” Sacca Lafia said.

Violence has resumed since the beginning of the week in this northern region of the country, six weeks after the 28 April parliamentary elections, in which the opposition was unable to participate.

The rivalry between Head of State Patrice Talon and Boni Yayi is longstanding, the former being in opposition when the latter was President from 2006 to 2016. A situation that has now been reversed.

Summoned in early June by a judge to be heard in an undisclosed case, Boni Yayi could not be heard due to health problems, his lawyer said.

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