ABIDJAN - As drum beats pounded and appetizing smells filled the air thousands of people from all ethnic groups attended the annual Grill Festival in the capital of the Ivory Coast.
"The festival brings the whole population together. Men and women from Ivory Coast and all other communities meet here to celebrate in a common atmosphere and we forget everything that happened in the past period of crisis," said chef Antoine Loba.
The festival was held six weeks before a presidential election scheduled for Oct. 25. It will be the first poll since a disputed election in 2010 that led to fighting in which about 3,000 people were killed after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to Alassane Ouattara.