One killed as clashes erupt across I.Coast ahead of election

Abidjan (AFP) - One person was killed as protesters torched vehicles and clashed with police in several Ivory Coast towns on Thursday, witnesses said, in the first major outbreak of trouble ahead of next month's presidential election.

The protests were called by part of the opposition a day after the release by the Constitutional Council of the official list of 10 contenders running in the October 25 poll, including incumbent Alassane Ouattara.

Opposition groups urged anti-Ouattara marches on the grounds that both of his parents were not Ivorian -- the same objection cited ahead of deadly unrest in 2010-2011 that left more than 3,000 dead following a presidential poll.

Then president Laurent Gbagbo, who is to stand trial for crimes against humanity in November in The Hague over the unrest, had refused to step down and acknowledge Ouattara's victory at the ballot box.

The worst clashes took place in the western village of Logouata between rival groups armed with knives, clubs and rocks, local sources told AFP.

One elderly man was killed in the unrest and several houses were set on fire, witnesses said. A number of injured people were taken to hospital in the nearby town of Sinfra.

There were also violent scenes in Gbagbo's western hometown Gagnoa where protesters erected barricades and set fire to tyres, local residents and a security source told AFP.

In Bonoua, hometown of his wife Simone Gbagbo, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence for her role in the post-poll unrest, a security source said police used teargas when clashes broke out between southerners and northerners.

In the Yopougon district of the capital, Abidjan, protesters set fire to a bus and stoned another, AFP reporters said.