Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Friday 04 May 2007

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Highlights

- UNOCI Observation posts activated in five locations;

- Mixed Brigade gendarmes accused of extorting money from travelers in Zeale;

- FANCI conducts patrols in Fengolo (ex-ZOC);

- OHCHR Director of Operations, Programmes and Research visits Bouaké;

- Bouaké Milobs accompanied by Morbatt conduct arms embargo inspection;

Military

UNOCI peacekeepers have activated five observation posts in Zou, Téapleu, Beou Zagna, N'gatta Dolikro and Bagohouo and have deactivated six checkpoints at Duékoué, Logoualé, Danané, Zouan Hounien, Tiebissou and Djébenoua. On 3 May, a delegation of the Forces Nouvelles visited UNOCI's Danane Team Site.

They were in the town to meet local authorities and civilians to explain in detail the Ouagadougou Agreement. The meeting was attended by UNPOL and Licorne. A patrol from Yamoussoukro Teamsite yesterday observed that the compound housing the mixed brigade at N'gatta Dolikro was locked. On inquiry with local people the peacekeepers were told that the mixed brigade was not yet operational because its headquarters lacked essential office furniture.

Security

On 3 May 2007, BANBATT peacekeepers manning the Teapleu observation post reported that three FDS-CI gendarmes from the Zéalé Mixed Brigade had apprehended three local people including a woman entering into village. As a result the local population became agitated and established a roadblock between Téapleu and Zéalé but this was removed after an hour. The three apprehended persons later went to the Téapleu observation post and reported that the Mixed Brigade gendarmes had extorted 8,000 CFA from them.

FANCI soldiers yesterday carried patrols in Duékoué and Fengolo to provide security.

Arms embargo

Military observers from Bouaké escorted by MORBATT soldiers carried out an arms embargo inspection at the FDS-FN 2nd Company in Bonieredougou. The inspection was conducted smoothly.

Humanitarian

On 3 May 2007, the Jordanian Battalion donated about 300 meal packages to orphans and underprivileged students in the Abidjan district of Marcory.

Human Rights

On 4 May 2007, Ms. Maria-Francisca Ize-Charrin, Director of Operations, Programmes and Research at the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, visited Bouaké and Brobo village, situated about 35 km from Bouaké.

In Brobo, Ms. Ize-Charrin was received by the King of Brobo in the presence of five traditional chiefs of the region. Among the issues discussed were racketeering, the existing militia group in Brobo and security in the ex-zone of confidence. Welcoming the visit, the King expressed concern about continuing human rights violations in his kingdom. Denying allegations that he was the founder of the militia group in Brobo, he said he understood the reason for establishing the group, which was to ensure security in the area. Ms. Ize-Charrin highlighted the importance of human rights. In Bouaké, the mission met with national NGOs who expressed concern about the identification process, abuses by the Forces Nouvelles and the issue of impunity. With the Forces Nouvelles authorities, Ms. Ize-Charrin stressed the main human rights concerns brought to her attention by national interlocutors, including racketeering, rape and exactions. In response, the deputy chief of staff of the Forces Nouvelles said that the FN were committed to promoting human rights. Concerning cases of rape, he said that police stations and sector commanders had been instructed to receive complaints and to take appropriate action on those cases. In conclusion, Ms. Ize-Charrin encouraged the Forces Nouvelles authorities to continue to explore ways of addressing human rights violations, including special human rights training for their civilian and military elements.

On 1 May 2007, the Regional Human Rights Office in Korhogo was informed of the release, on 30 April, of six men suspected of being "Jeunes Patriotes" and detained at the civilian prison of Korhogo since 2004 and 2005. They were released following the amnesty law signed by President Gbagbo on 12 April 2007.

On 2 May 2007, the Regional Human Rights Office in Duékoué opened an investigation in Fengolo (7 km north-west of Duékoué, in the former zone of confidence) into clashes on 30 April 2007 between the indigenous population and settlers over disputed land. On 2 May 2007, the Bouaké Regional Human Rights Office attended a meeting organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with local authorities, UN representatives, the Ministry for Solidarity and Victims of War and a delegation of 15 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who are living in the Miégou Centre in Yamoussoukro. They all fled Bouaké in 2002 and were invited by UNHCR to go back for a one-day visit to Bouaké in order to prepare their return. Their main issues of concern were the security situation, job opportunities and the condition of their properties. In their opening remarks, the Mayor of Bouaké and local NGOs stressed the need for IDPs to return in order to strengthen the peace process.