Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for 14 Nov 2008

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News and Press Release
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Highlights

- FESCI pledges support for UNOCI's peace efforts

- FN launches identification campaign in Bouaké

- UNOCI and UNMIL discuss border security

Political

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Cote d'Ivoire (SRSG) Y.J. Choi today held meetings with members of the Féderation Estudantine et Scolaire de Cote d'Ivoire (FESCI). During the meeting, the president of the group, Augustin Mian, assured the SRSG that his members would support the Mission's efforts to help bring peace to Côte d'Ivoire. In addition, Mr. Mian said that he had called on all FESCI members to ensure that they are identified and registered to vote. Mr. Choi thanked the FESCI members for their visit and assured them that the spectre of war was no longer hovering over their country. The SRSG also met with the President of the Independent Electoral Commission Mr. Robert Mambe Beugre and Ambassador Boureima Badini, the Special Representative of the Facilitator. Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore, to review the latest developments of the peace process following the 4th meeting of the Permanent Consultative Framework held on 10 November 2008 in Ouagadougou...

Electoral process

The Forces Nouvelles (FN) yesterday launched a five-day sensitization campaign on the identification and voter registration operation in the Bouaké area. Speaking on behalf of the FN, Mr. Sekongo Félicien, said that the operation which was officially launched on 15 September 2008, was crucial to the restoration of lasting peace in Côte d'Ivoire and should therefore be carried out with great care and attention.

Security

Following a violent confrontation between Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FAFN) soldiers and Dozos (traditional hunters) on 11 November 2008 in Angolokaha, 88 km north of Bouaké, a UNOCI team comprising UNPOL and PAKBATT met with the concerned parties yesterday and succeeded in temporarily resolving the issue. Trouble started when the FAFN soldiers demanded money from anyone wanting to wash their gold particles in a nearby dam. The Dozos refused to pay up. A further meeting to try to find a permanent solution to the problem is scheduled to be held today in Niakaramandougou, 120km north of Bouake, between the FAFN and the Dozos.

UNOCI and UNMIL yesterday held a meeting in Liberia to assess the security situation along the border between Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire. It was reported that military personnel from the Liberian Security Administration (NSA) had searched border areas in response to persistent reports that Liberian ex-combatants had infiltrated Ivorian border villages but they have no evidence to support the rumours.

UNOCI has intervened to avert conflict between youths from the Burkinabé and host communities in Pelezi village in the Vavoua area (centre west). According to reports received by the Mission, the Burkinabés youths are demobilized ex-combatants of the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FAFN) who recent return to the village is causing tension. Individual conflicts often degenerate into inter-ethnic conflicts and as the demobilized Burkinabés are prone to resort violence, there is a serious chance of violent confrontation between the two groups. UNOCI has suggested a meeting between leaders of both communities in order to find a solution to the problem.

Human Rights

The Regional Human Rights Office in Odienné is following up reports that four soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles stationed in Boundiali (north), on 9 November 2008, arrested two FAFN soldiers in Odienné, on suspicion of involvement in highway robbery. The two elements were reportedly tied up and put in the trunk of a car, after which one of them escaped while the other was killed by soldiers.

Some 50 members of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and representatives of political parties in the Haut Sassandra region, participated in workshops held from 11-12 November 2008, on general human rights law, the right to vote and the role of UNOCI in the electoral process, organised by the Regional Human Rights Office in Daloa (centre west).

The Regional Human Rights Office in Daloa (centre west), has reported that the crackdown against supporters of former FAFN Zone Commander Koné Zacharia continues in Séguéla (centre-west). The Office has learnt that on 9 November 2008, three more dissident soldiers were arrested by military authorities and detained at the local gendarmerie. A total of nine soldiers are said to be in detention. No reasons were given for the latest arrests. The Office is closely monitoring the situation.