Côte d'Ivoire: OCHA Daily Report 30-31 Jan 2006
On 28 January 2006, President Laurent Gbagbo issued a Decree extending the mandate of the National Parliament. According to the President spokesman Désiré Tagro, the decision was taken after consultations with the Prime Minister, who had allegedly admitted that the issue lay "within the exclusive powers" of the President. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of the Ivoirian transitional government, Charles Konan Banny, did not deny nor confirm such statement. After a meeting over the weekend with Congolese President, Denis Sassou N'Guesso, the new African Union Chairman, said, "I am committed to organize elections according to plan" and confirmed that he was working « in tandem » with President Laurent Gbagbo. He also added that Congolese President Denis Sassou N'Guesso fully supported the U.N. roadmap for Côte d'Ivoire.
However, the UN Secretary General voiced concern regarding the «unexpected » decision by the President. Mr. Annan stressed the need to avoid any unilateral action, and recalled that the parties must strictly adhere to the implementation of UN resolution 1633.
Meanwhile, on 30 January the privately owned daily l'Inter quoted the UN Secretary General's Representative in Côte d'Ivoire, Pierre Schori as saying that "sanctions are the only solution to stop the impunity" and that "the majority of Ivoirian youths are waiting for the UN to react."
Forces Nouvelles (FN) declared on 28 January 2006 that the President's decision to extend the mandate of the Parliament was null and void. FN spokesman Sidiki Konate underlined that the FN will follow the recommendations of the International Working Group. In the meantime, the FN Secretary General Guillaume Soro continues his tour to the West of the country meeting with population and businessmen.
On 30 January the FN leader held a public meeting in Man. He declared that Ivorians are tired of war and the hesitations of the international community. He stressed that the international community have being repeatedly delaying the imposition of sanctions against those who hinder the peace process and this is the reason why the peace process reached a stalemate. Mr. Soro underlined that the issue of the National Assembly's mandate was not the real motive behind the recent street demonstrations in Abidjan. What happened on 16-19 January 2006, he said, was a « coup d'Etat against the Government of Charles Konan Banny » and added that Forces Nouvelles were awaiting the UN response.
Mr. Soro categorically stated « we will not give our coffee and cocoa to Gbagbo» and asked the Colonel-major Moussa Fofana to set up a special commission to deal with the problem of coffee and cocoa export. The FN leader expressed also his particular concern about school exams organisation. He promised to discuss the issue with the Prime Minister during his planned visit to Bouaké on 03 February 2006.
Meanwhile a South African delegation headed by the Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Aziz Pahad arrived on 31 January 2006 in Abidjan to hold talks with President Gbagbo, Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny and UN High Representative for elections in Côte d'Ivoire to discuss the overall situation in the country, the electoral process and, particularly, the issue of the Independent Electoral Commission. The South African delegation also plans to meet with FPI (Front Populaire Ivoirien) leaders and some opposition parties. Forces Nouvelles authorities declared they will not be available to meet with the South African mediators.
At the weekend, a joint security assessment mission to Guiglo was fielded to re-establish contact with local civil and military authorities, evaluate the damage to UN property, ascertain the security of displaced and vulnerable persons, particularly those in sites, and the security needs of local UN and NGO staff still present in the area. Under the leadership of the UN Chief Security Advisor, the 10-member strong mission was made up of security personnel of OCHA, UNICEF, WFP, UNICEF, HCR; and the military and police component of the peacekeeping mission, UNOCI.
The mission met with all concerned parties, including the local governor Guié Globo, the préfet Danon Djédjé, leaders of the Committee of the victims, of the National coalition of Ivorian resistance fighters (CONARECI) and movement of Young Patriots and the student's movement. All in all, most of the concerned parties met expressed no remorse yet urged UN humanitarian agencies to return to the area and to resume operations, when and if they meet certain conditions. The speeches and statements continue to be hostile towards the UN, in particular towards the military. Local leaders and youth have said that they would not accept the return of the BANBATT under any circumstances.
In the course of the field visit, according to the daily l'Inter, Yai Octave, Vice-president of the Guiglo General Council and President of the local Crisis committee, stated, "ONUCI killed and wounded. We have problems to cope with the funerals of our dead and the cure of the wounded. We expect ONUCI to take charge of it". The daily reports also Serges Koffi, leader of CONARECI, the movement that instigated the demonstrators against ONUCI, as saying that "It is up to ONUCI to pay for the funerals of our dead and to fully indemnify their families. Only after it, we may discuss the return of the humanitarian organisations".
Meanwhile, the security of some 7,000 displaced persons and almost a similar number of refugees in the west of the country, in the Guiglo area remains of concern. With UNOCI troops temporarily relocated from the town and other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations withdrawn, the security of the two rather vulnerable groups now rests in the hands of the Ivorian security agents. Fortunately for the time being, the displaced persons had just received their rations of food and non-food items before the attacks of the week between 16 and 19 January.
According to the FPI daily Notre Voie, the President of the Liberation Front of the Great West (FLGO), Maho Glofiéi reassured the IDPs and refugees sheltered in Guiglo "not to worry" and to consider unfounded the rumours concerning the threats of possible attacks on IDPs and refugees camps.
In an unrelated development, WFP conducted an assessment mission to Tabou on 26-28 January 2006, following recent inter-community clashes resulting in 09 people dead and several injured. For a full report on the root causes of the clashes, please read the daily report dated the 27th of January. Local inhabitants fled to the nearby villages and the Catholic mission in Tabou. On 27 January 2006, the WFP team registered a dozen of IDPs in Ouéguiré, 18 IDPs in Déhié, 16 Liberians in Ménéké and Gliké V3. During the first days, 153 IDPs were registered at the Catholic Mission of Tabou; the number decreased to 115 on 24 January and to 81 on 27 January. According to the local NGO SAARA, 47 Liberians came to the Tabou transit site following the attacks; the Catholic Mission reported to have referred 04 Liberian IDPs to HCR.
IDPs who left the Catholic Mission went to their villages of origin (Boundoukou, Tanda) or joined their relatives in other towns (San-Pedro and Abidjan).
At the Catholic Mission two rooms were made available to IDPs, one for men and one for women. The latter room is equipped with 22 beds and mattresses while men sleep on the mats. IDPs use 02 water points, 04 latrines and 04 showers. HCR delivered non-food items and the Catholic Mission provides food. As of 27 January, the IDPs were provided three meals a day.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.