Ex-Ivorian leader's party headquarters 'trashed'

Abidjan - The headquarters of the party of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo were ransacked on Monday, leaving three people injured, a spokesperson said.

Confidential documents, including financial registers, were stolen as a group of around 20 youths "literally trashed" Gbagbo's former offices, Frank Anderson Kouassi, spokesperson for the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), told AFP.

An AFP photographer at the headquarters said rooms were littered with scattered documents, smashed computers and printers, broken glass and upturned furniture.

A party official suggested the perpetrators may have been youth FPI activists.

"It is an internal thing, we have no illusions," the official said. "Although we do not exclude any hypothesis."

Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko later announced that the security services had launched an enquiry to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Post-election conflict

The party of the former Ivorian president is torn over its participation in the new Independent Electoral Commission, which is responsible for organising next year's crunch presidential vote.

Kouassi said that a closed-doors party meeting over the weekend had "almost degenerated into a fight" after repeated arguments.

Gbagbo ruled over a nation mired in strife from 2000 until he was ousted in 2011, after refusing to admit defeat at the polls the previous year.

A post-election conflict claimed some 3 000 lives and Gbagbo's FPI party claims that at least 700 of his followers have been thrown behind bars.

The ex-president has been detained at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which in June decided to try him on charges of crimes against humanity.