Killed for comedy

Satirist's death sparks Ivory Coast riots

Rioters have taken to the streets of the Ivory Coast following the suspected murder of a comedian by a death squad loyal to the government.

A body, believed to be that of the satirist Kamara Yerefe, known to locals as H, was found on a scrapyard in the suburbs of the country's main city Abidjan this morning.

The discovery prompted hundreds of opposition supporters to storm the city's streets clashing with police, who opened fire with tear gas and live ammunition.

It is the biggest protest in the Ivory Coast's four-month civil war, according to the news agency Reuters. The city is a tinderbox following a wave of death squad killings and an unpopular peace deal brokered by the French.

Yerefe's family said he had been taken away by paramilitary police on Saturday night and that he was found with bullet holes in his head. But official sources say the body found today has not yet been identified.

Human rights group Amensty International says of the Ivory Coast: "Civilians face multiple threats to their human rights in a situation of escalating armed conflict. Cases of extrajudicial executions, summary killings, abduction of high profile political actors and several hundred victims remain uninvestigated."

Published: 2 Feb 2003

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