Ivory Coast's post-election violence has killed at least 247 people since late November, the UN said Friday. Many have died in clashes between rival camps supporting incumbent President Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara.
REUTERS - At least 247 people have been killed in violence in Ivory Coast since its disputed presidential election in late November, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday.
The death toll is up from 210 a week ago, U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a media briefing in Geneva.
The latest fatalities include 4 civilians and 7 police killed in clashes in the Abidjan suburb of Abobo, he said.
The West African country, the world's top cocoa producer, has been in crisis since a Nov. 28 presidential election that both incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and rival Alassane Ouattara claim to have won. Ouattara was proclaimed the winner by the electoral commission and is widely regarded by foreign governments as having legitimately won the U.N.-certified poll.
The United Nations suspects many of the dead were killed by pro-Gbagbo security forces or allied militias in night-time raids on neighbourhoods such as Abobo that are seen as
pro-Ouattara. Hundreds of other people may have been abducted and taken to secret detention centres, U.N. officials there say.
Forty nine people are unaccounted for, including 20 reported as having disappeared in the past week, according to Colville.
U.N. officials have not had access to three alleged mass graves, including the latest one reported in Issia near the central town of Daloa, whose existence has not been confirmed,
"It is alleged to be a mass grave with many bodies. That is all we know at this point," Colville said. U.N. military observers, part of the U.N. peacekeeping force UNOCI, had been informed about it by telephone on Monday.
"UNOCI military and police officers went on mission there the following day, the 11th of January, to investigate but they were unable to find the alleged grave and were unable to confirm whether it actually exists or not," he said.
"They made two attempts to reach these earlier alleged mass graves. Both times they were not allowed by the (Gbagbo) security forces to get to the areas. But certainly with
allegations that serious, you don't give up on it," he said.
Forces loyal to Gbagbo began attacking and burning U.N. vehicles in Ivory Coast on Thursday as tensions escalated between Gbagbo and the world body.
Date created : 2011-01-14