Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for 27 Oct 2008

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News and Press Release
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Highlights

- MORBATT platoon forced to leave Divo for second time

- Arrested civil servants released after UNOCI intervention

- FAFN soldiers arrested in connection with attack on village

Military redeployment

A MORBATT platoon sent to Divo (south-west) on Thursday, 23 October 2008 to secure the proposed site for a UNOCI military camp, was forced to return to its base in Duékoué (west) the following day, after receiving a letter from the local authorities asking it to leave the town. According to reports received by the Mission, the Mayor of Divo, the local MP and the president of the General Council are opposed to the deployment of the platoon in the site and have proposed another site, which was found to be unsuitable. The disputed suite has been leased by UNOCI from its owner. This is the second time local authorities have prevented UNOCI from deploying in the town. On 30 September, a MORBATT platoon facing similar hostility was forced to leave Divo.

Sport and Peace

The UN Special Adviser for Sport, Peace and Development, Mr. Wilfried Lemke, today welcomed the role of sport in the promotion of peace in Côte d'Ivoire. Speaking on the final day of a five-day visit to Côte d'Ivoire, Mr. Lemke told journalists and representative of sports organizations that although he could not promise them money, the UN was committed to supporting them in the work they did. Yesterday, the Special Adviser went to Bouaké, during which he visited a Judo Training Club, also tries to educate young people by promoting the social values such as dignity, honesty and hard work. The girls and boys were able to show their judo skills during a special performance for the benefit of the Special Adviser. Mr. Lemke expressed his appreciation and described the work of the centre as an "encouraging and well-inspired initiative". He also told the children that the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, had a keen interest in the use of sport for development and peace.

Arms embargo

An arms embargo inspection was successfully carried out by UNOCI peacekeepers at Gendarmerie Brigade in the coastal town of Fresco in the Sud Bandama region.

Security

Following the intervention of UNOCI staff from UNPOL, Civil Affairs and Human Rights, 22 people arrested during demonstrations by redeployed civil servants in Korhogo on 24 October 2008, have been released. However, the Mission was informed that they were made to undress before being detained and that while they were in detention they were physically and verbally abused. The civil servants, 44 of whom were injured, two of them seriously, when FAFN soldiers forcibly stopped their demonstration, were protesting against the non payment of their redeployment allowances.

Five soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FAFN) including a volunteer for the new army were arrested on 23 October 2008 for their alleged involvement in a deadly armed attack in Assorola village, located 15 km south-east of Bouaké. The suspects remain in custody while the police make further inquiries into the attack.

Human Rights

The Regional Human Rights Office in Daloa (centre west) is following up the case of a Beninois man, aged 44, who was arrested on 20 October 2008 and detained at the Vrouo 2 gendarmerie station, near Vavoua (centre west)) on suspicion of child trafficking. He is alleged to have brought six children aged between 10 and 15 from Benin to Côte d'Ivoire and forced them to work 22 hours a day on plantations, restaurants and other services in Vrouo2. Two of the children were in extreme bad health conditions and were referred by human rights officers in Daloa to a local religious centre in Vavoua for medical care.