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Cote d'Ivoire minister probed over rape allegation

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Capture d'écran, une vidéo AFP, Kouadio Konan Bertin

Ivory Coast

Prosecutors in Ivory Coast said Wednesday they had opened an investigation into a prominent minister who had been accused of rape by a young woman.

The probe focuses on the minister for reconciliation, Kouadio Konan Bertin, who also contested last year's presidential election.

"The young woman filed a complaint with the police. A (judicial) investigation is under way," the prosecutor's office said, adding that Bertin had filed a suit against her for libel.

In an audio message disseminated on the internet on Monday, an Ivorian-Cameroonian artist who said she had worked with Bertin alleged that in April she had been forcibly taken to Divo, a town 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of Abidjan, where she was raped.

Bertin, 52, commonly known by his initials of KKB, was the only contender against presidential incumbent Alassane Ouattara in last October's elections.

Other candidates boycotted the poll in protest at Ouattara's bid for a third term, which they said sidestepped the constitution.

Bertin, who picked up only 1.99 percent of the vote, was appointed minister of national reconciliation two months later -- a post aimed at healing the country's dangerous political rift.


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