Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire: Two more shantytowns attacked

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ABIDJAN, 29 January (IRIN) - Several houses were set on fire on Tuesday night when "armed men in military clothing" raided and set fire to dwellings in 'Washington', a shantytown in Abidjan. The men also kidnapped seven young men who, at the time of writing, had not been found, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Wednesday.
There were about 200 dwellings in 'Washington', where hundreds of low-income immigrants and Ivorians lived. The raid, according to residents, took place between 12:00 GMT and 12:30 GMT during the night. Last night's raid was the second in two days after a group of "armed men" in the early hours of Tuesday set ablaze another 50 houses in the shantytown of 'Abdoulaye Diallo, in the Abidjan suburb of Yopougon.

'Washington' is one of the many shantytowns in the economic capital Abidjan. Since the beginning of the Ivorian crisis, shantytowns have been the targets of demolitions by security forces who accused residents of sheltering those who launched the 19 September failed coup d'etat.

President Laurent Gbagbo had ordered that destruction of shantytowns be stopped unless the shantytown was located in the vicinity of a security or military facility. However his orders have not always been followed.

Meanwhile, the UN's humanitarian envoy, Carolyn McAskie, began today the sub-regional leg of her mission. McAskie, who has been in Cote d'Ivoire since 15 January was due to travel to Accra, Ghana, where she would meet with government officials, UN agencies and others organisations to discuss the four-month old crisis which has displaced thousands of people.

McAskie's was due to travel to Burkina Faso, Guinea and Liberia from Ghana.

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