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Ouattara Supporters Say 8 Killed in Attack on Party Headquarters

Neighbors help lead away a woman after she collapsed in grief as she visited the local opposition party office where her brother was killed in an overnight attack, in the Yopougon neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 02 Dec 2010

Supporters of Ivory Coast's opposition candidate say eight people were killed in an attack in the capital, despite an overnight curfew. The electoral commission has missed its deadline for declaring a winner in the presidential election after delays by supporters of the current president.

There is blood on the floor of Alassane Ouattara's campaign headquarters in the Abidjan neighborhood of Yopougon. Windows are smashed. Furniture is overturned. Papers are scattered everywhere.

Local youth chairman, Idrissa Ouattara, says eight people were killed by masked gunmen.

Ouattara says unarmed members of the party's youth wing volunteered to stay overnight at the local headquarters because of concerns about post-electoral violence. He says they were attacked by more than 40 people who stormed the party offices, killing eight people and injuring 14. Ouattara says 25 people are unaccounted for.

He says the attackers were shouting that Ouattara supporters voted for a foreigner, and a foreigner will never govern Ivory Coast. The former prime minister is from the north of the country where many people are descendants of migrants from Burkina Faso and Mali.

Ouattara supporter Abduallai Bamba spent the night at the Yopougon headquarters. He sat Thursday with dried blood down the front of his white T-shirt, a large bandage covering the right side of his head.

Bamba says the attackers used clubs and long knives. People were falling everywhere, he says. They were all wearing civilian clothes, so he does not know who they were.

Since President Gbagbo imposed an overnight curfew six days ago, neighbors say there has been no security outside the Ouattara party headquarters in a residential neighborhood in Yopougon. As angry crowds of Ouattara supporters gathered Thursday morning, there were four trucks of gendarmes.

President Gbagbo has extended that curfew through Sunday to prevent violence following the electoral commission's failure to declare a winner. Gbagbo supporters blocked the release of some results saying the commission should annul them because of what they say was cheating by Ouattara supporters.

Ouattara campaign director Marcel Amon Tanoh says the president's interference with the work of the electoral commission shows that Mr. Gbagbo knows he has lost the vote and is trying to keep power by force.

The Gbagbo campaign says it will fight to the end to ensure that the only results released are results that the president's supporters believe are accurate.

It is unclear what will happen now that the electoral commission has missed its legal deadline. Mr. Gbagbo's campaign says the commission is too political, so the issue should now move to Ivory Coast's constitutional council.

The Ouattara campaign opposes that move, in part, because the council is led by Gbagbo ally Paul Yao N'Dre.