Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for 24 Oct 2008

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Highlights

- UNOCI and UN Agencies organise series of events to celebrate UN Day

- UN Special Adviser for sport on visit to Côte d'Ivoire

- Several injured as FAFN breaks up civil servants' strike

UN Day celebrations

UNOCI and UN agencies today celebrated UN Day in the Mission area with a series of events. The main official ceremony was presided over by the Principal Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (PDSRSG), Mr. Abou Moussa, in Abidjan with a series of events starting with an official ceremony at the Mission's headquarters in Sebroko. The celebrations continued with a roundtable on Peace, Security and Development and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which is being launched by all UN agencies and the Human Rights Division, at the Palais de la Culture in Trechville. The Day will end with a final performance of UNOCI's Artistic Caravan of Peace, which has been touring Ivorian cities to promote peace, reconciliation and social cohesion.

Visit of UN Special Adviser

The Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General for Sport, Peace and Development, Mr. Wilfried Lemke, arrived in Côte d'Ivoire yesterday on a five-day visit, as part of the United Nation's efforts to promote peace, reconciliation, social cohesion and development through sport. During his visit, Mr. Lemke will hold discussions with Ivorian authorities and officials from sporting organizations. He hopes that through these exchanges, he will be able to immerse himself in the sporting realities in the country, and have a clearer idea of how best to make use of sports to promote peace. In addition, the Special Adviser will visit projects that have been set up to promote the reintegration of young people through sports in Abidjan and Bouaké.

Security

Six people were injured, two of them seriously, and 44 arrested when soldiers from the Armed Forces of Forces Nouvelles (FAFN) this morning forcibly stopped a demonstration by redeployed civil servants who were protesting in Korhogo (north) against the non-payment of their resettlement allowances. The civil servants launched a 96 hour strike on 21 October 2008.

The Deputy Zone Commander of the FAFN in Séguéla (centre west) yesterday told participants at the weekly coordination meeting, attended by representatives of UNOCI and Force Licorne in Man (west), that the Forces Nouvelles intended to launch an investigation into the exact whereabouts of "missing" soldiers loyal to former Zone Commander Zacharia Koné, who was sacked in June 2008 after leaving his zone without permission. His sacking resulted in violent demonstrations by FAFN soldiers loyal to him. The "missing" soldiers are said to be armed but the deputy zone commander said that they did not represent a threat to the electoral process in the region. He added that FAFN was working with the local administration to facilitate the soldiers' reinsertion into their respective communities.

Villagers in Zitta, near Daloa, (centre-west) have complained to a UNOCI patrol about frequent robberies in the village and along the major roads in the area.

Police in the eastern town of Bondoukou, yesterday searched the home of a former Minister of Social Affairs, Yaya Ouattara, suspected to having arms and orchestrating violent demonstrations by youths in the town in August 2008. The youths claimed that they were protesting against the exploitation of natural resources, particularly timber, in the Zanzan region, which they said did not benefit local people.

Medal Parade

Some 350 Ghanaian peacekeepers and Military Observers were yesterday presented with the UN Medal for their service to peace at a medal parade ceremony in the eastern town of Bondoukou. The ceremony was presided over by the Deputy Force Commander, Brigadier-General Elhadji Mouhamadou Kandji, who praised the peacekeeper's professionalism, discipline and tact in the execution of their duties. The ceremony was attended by Sector East Commander, Brigadier-General Iqbal Zafar, the Ghanaian Contingent Commander, Colonel Dela Sakyi and local officials.

Human Rights

The Regional Human Rights Office in Bouaké, on 22 October 2008, met with a 17- year-old girl and a 61-year-old woman, who had both been victims of sexual violence. The two women were allegedly raped on 19 and 20 October 2008 in Katiola, situated approximately 50 km from Bouaké. The 61 year-old woman said that she was attacked while she was working on her farm and could not identify the assailants, while the other claimed that she had been dragged into the bush by a man she knew before being raped. The Office is following up on the case with the local law enforcement authorities.

In Daloa, the Regional Human Rights Office is following up on the case of 12 Nigerian women who were brought from Nigeria to Vavoua, situated 65 km from Daloa (centre west), on 1 October 2008 to work as prostitutes. The case came to the attention of the local gendarmerie, when two of the women aged 21 refused to work as prostitutes and said they wanted to return to their country.