Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for 28 Oct 2008

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Highlights

- Two injured in UNOCI helicopter crash in Danané

- 6000 soldiers to provide security for identification operation in Abidjan

- Villagers in Bounta complain of human rights violations by FAFN

Helicopter crash

Two crew members were slightly injured today when a UNOCI helicopter, UN-477, operated by Ghana Aviation from Bouaké, crashed in Danané (west). A total of six people were on the flight when the accident happened. The injured were initially evacuated to Danané hospital and UNOCI sent a helicopter from Daloa (centre west) to Danané to assist with evacuation of the injured.

Road accident

Eleven peacekeepers from UNOCI's Togolese battalion (TOGOBATT) were injured, four of them seriously in a road accident on the road from Aboisso (south) to Abidjan yesterday. The seriously injured were evacuated to hospital while the rest were treated and released. The peacekeepers were returning from a recreation trip when the accident happened.

Electoral process

The Integrated Command Centre (ICC), which is in charge of security provisions for the electoral process, announced yesterday that it would be sending 3000 soldiers to Abidjan to provide security for the identification and voter registration operation, which is due to recommence today. According to the same source, the Defence and Security Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FDSCI) will send 2000 soldiers, while the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles will send 1000. In Yamoussoukro, the operation is scheduled to restart on 8 November 2008.

Security

UNOCI peacekeepers deployed in eastern Côte d'Ivoire are going to increase the number of security patrols in an attempt to help reduce the alarming rate of roadside attacks along the mains roads in the area. The roads between Korhogo and Boundiali and Bouaké-Brobo during particularly during market days have been worst affected. There has also been an increase in the crime rate in the M'Bahiakro and Priko, since the Mixed Brigade left following the murder of its commander in a roadside ambush in July 2008.

Villagers in of Méapleu, near Man( west) have complained to UNOCI that robbers routinely steal their sheep and pigs despite the presence of an FAFN check point at the exit of the village. The last incident was reported on 25 October 2008.

People in Bounta village, near Man, also complained to UNOCI Military Observers yesterday of human rights violations by FAFN soldiers manning the check point in the village. They further accused the soldiers of extorting money from them on a daily basis. According to the villagers, arrests, beatings and detentions were commonplace. They said that they were living in constant fear, just as they were during the Ivorian civil war. They pleaded with UNOCI to help put an end to their misery.

Clean-up campaign

UNOCI is to provide logistical support to the local authorities Bouaké for a clean-up campaign they have launched in the city. The Mission had previously expressed concerns over the fact that numerous streets in the city had become the dumping ground for garbage and other types of wastes. The street cleaning campaign is part of a series of activities for National Public Health Day in Bouaké announced by the authorities, who plan to dispatch several teams of rubbish collectors around the city during the next three days.

Arms embargo

An arms embargo inspection was yesterday successfully conducted by UNOCI peacekeepers at the military police in Toulepleu (west)

Human Rights

The Regional Office in Bouaké yesterday reported that a 15-year-old youth who was a victim in an armed robbery allegedly carried out by FAFN soldiers on 7 October near Assorola, 15 km south-east of Bouaké, has died in hospital. The boy was shot in the stomach, while his companion was shot in the thigh and back. The robbers made away with the sum of 300,000 FCFA ($570). Five suspects, including a volunteer for the new army have been arrested and detained in the Compagnie Guépard in Bouaké.

On 24 October, the Regional Human Rights Office in Bondoukou (east) made a presentation on human rights and conflict resolution during a time of elections at a sensitization workshop aimed at strengthening social cohesion in the Zanzan region. The workshop was organized by UNOCI Public Information Division, for 70 members of the local authorities in Bondoukou.