Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for 13 Nov 2008

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Highlights

- UNOCI starts redeployment in Divo

- Identification and voter registration figure tops one million

- Bouaké students clash again over awarding of student grants

Military redeployment

UNOCI yesterday started work on its new military camp in Divo, situated 277 km north-west of Abidjan. The final obstacle to the redeployment plan was removed with the agreement of the Mayor, and traditional leaders in the town. The future camp will be occupied by the Moroccan battalion (MORBATT). A delegation, which went to Divo to mark the event, was warmly received by local and traditional leaders, who praised the Mission's work in Côte d'Ivoire and asked that it continued to support the electoral process. It should be recalled that UNOCI's plan to redeploy in Divo has suffered several setbacks due to strong opposition from certain sections of the population.

Electoral process

The number of people enrolled during the identification and voter registration operation has reached one million, according to a press release issued by the Ivorian Prime Minister's Office. The figure refers to people who have enrolled in the 774 centres in Abidjan. A total of 11,000 centres are scheduled to be opened all over the country when the process becomes fully established.

Security

Two rival groups of students in Bouaké University clashed again yesterday over the number of grants awarded, which one group feels is too few. UNOCI's Human Rights and Civil Affairs sections met with students, university officials and local authorities to discuss how best to resolve the problem. The Prefect of the Region, Mr. Aka Konin, who has expressed concern over the situation, called a meeting to discuss security measures with the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FAFN). The students started demonstrating over the issue on 3 November 2008 and have clashed several times since then. As a result of these clashes, several students have been seriously injured. One of the two groups is reportedly supported of the Forces Nouvelles (FN), while the other is not. There have also been allegations of mismanagement of students' grants which have further aggravated the situation. Meanwhile, the Prefect has promised to convene a meeting with the relevant authorities to try to resolve the problem.

A school teacher was assaulted by two masked individuals in front of his house in Korhogo (north) on 10 November 2008. The attackers beat him in the face with a truncheon, leaving him unconscious, before escaping with his personal belongings and motorcycle. The police have launched an investigation into the incident.

Arms embargo

Arms embargo inspections were successfully carried out by UNOCI peacekeepers at the National Armed Forces of Cote d'Ivoire's (FANCI) camp in Akouédo in Abidjan, at its gendarmerie Brigades in Hire, near Gagnoa (centre west), Gohitafla (centre west) and Assuefry, near Adzopé (south west), as well as at the FAFN's 73rd battalion in Ouaninou, near Man (west) and at its Units in Ouangolodougou (north) and Kouto, near Korhogo (north).

Human Rights

The Human Rights Office in Bouaké is following up complaints from some students involved in violent clashes at Bouaké University on 3 and 8 November 2008, that they were attacked with machetes, knives and sticks by other students and beaten with leather belts by FAFN soldiers. They also claimed that they were detained without food and threatened with death. Several of the victims underwent medical treatment in the Bouaké hospital for their injuries, such as missing teeth and broken bones.

On 11 November 2008, the Regional Human Rights Office in Odienné received the mother of a fourteen year old boy detained in the Odienné gendarmerie since 6 November 2008, on allegations of causing a road accident involving a young girl. The gendarmes have demanded 12,000 FCFA ($24) for his release.