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UN blames spate of killings on Ouattara forces

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-08-11

The UN on Thursday released a report documenting 26 extrajudicial killings in the Ivory Coast in the past four weeks. The report blamed most of the killings on members of the republican armed forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara.

AFP - There were 26 extrajudicial killings in the Ivory Coast in the past four weeks, mostly blamed on fighters who helped President Alassane Ouattara take power, the UN mission reported Thursday.

The killings were reported between July 11 and August 10, the rights representative for the UN's Ivory Coast mission, Guillaume Ngefa, said at a press conference.

There were "26 cases of extrajudicial execution, summary or arbitrary" and "85 cases of arbitrary arrest and illegal detention," he said.

Most often implicated in the "numerous violations of human rights" being recorded were men whom locals and victims identified as belonging to the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI), he said.

The FRCI helped Ouattara to take power in May after an election dispute with ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to give up office after losing elections in November.

Gbagbo's position led to a four-month conflict in which 3,000 people were killed and both sides were accused of serious human rights abuses.

It ended when the FRCI, backed by French forces, arrested Gbagbo on April 11, also rounding up dozens of his supporters who remain under house arrest.

The 26 people killed in the past month included a 17-month-old child and were shot dead in the western village of Duekoue and central-western Daloa, areas populated by supporters of Gbagbo, Ngefa said.

The executions were blamed mostly on "elements of the FRCI" as well as locals who support them, but also sometimes on pro-Gbagbo fighters, Ngefa said.

Eight communal graves had also been discovered near the economic capital Abidjan, he said, without giving details.

Establishing security remains a major challenge in the world's leading cocoa producer after the election dispute, which culminated in a nearly two-week battle in the economic capital Abidjan.

There have been some improvements, especially in Abidjan, but FRCI troops are regularly accused of abuses, execution, violence and looting.

The group comprises mainly former rebel fighters from the Muslim-dominated north who were behind a failed 2002 uprising against Gbagbo.

They are being integrated into a new post-conflict army, called the Republic Forces, that will also include troops from the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) army that backed Gbagbo in the dispute.

While both sides have been accused of serious human rights violations, charges have only been laid against 38 members of the Gbagbo camp, including his son Michel.

Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone, being held in different locations, have yet to be indicted.

Date created : 2011-08-11


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