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Inside the Afcon 2023 stadium that's history saw it used for executions in war

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THE African Cup of Nations is set to begin in the country of Ivory Coast.

The tournament will kick off for the 34th time on January 13 and will take place in six different stadiums.

The Stade de la Paix is the third-largest stadium for AFCON

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The Stade de la Paix is the third-largest stadium for AFCONCredit: AFP

The six stadiums are spread out across five cities in the African nation and will host some of the best Premier League players.

One stadium in particular has a bloody history connected to it.

The Stade de la Paix is a multi-use ground in Bouake, the second largest city of the Ivory Coast.

The stadium holds a maximum of 40,000 people and was recently renovated in 2020.

It was originally built and opened in 1984 for the year’s Afcon competition.

It hosted seven games during the tournament including the 3rd place match, Ivory Coast however did not make it past the group stages.

The stadium was unused for sporting events between October 2002 and March 2007.

This was down to the occupation of the Forces nouvelles de Côte d’Ivoire (New Forces) in the First Ivorian Civil War.

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Didier Drogba insisted that a match be played at the ground after the civil war

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Didier Drogba insisted that a match be played at the ground after the civil warCredit: AFP

During the conflict, it has been alleged that the stadium was used as an execution site.

Testimonies from residents in Bouake claim that police officers and military soldiers from the government’s forces were killed by the occupiers.

The ground saw football return in July 2007 as Ivory Coast played Madagascar after peace was declared.

The match took on great significance for national reconciliation and gathered great interest as part of the Ouagadougou Agreement signed by president Laurent Gbagbo and soro secretary-general Guillaume Kigbafori.

The agreement brought peace to the country and merged the forces to create a united army.

Ivory Coast won the match 5-0 thanks to goals from stars such as Saloman Kalou, Yaya Toure, Arouna Kone (brace) and Didier Drogba.

The match was played at the Stade de la Paix after an intervention from Drogba who insisted that the game take place in Bouake.

It will be the third-largest stadium in this year’s competition and the first match that will feature there is Algeria vs Angola before five more group games.

The ground will also host a round-of-16 match, a quarter-final and one of the two semi-finals.

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