Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Friday 11 May 2007

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Highlights

- Military observers investigate three men reported missing from Ferkessédougou

- UNOCI peacekeepers prevented from conducting arms embargo inspection in Mama and Ouragahio

- Health Centre renovated by Licorne is inaugurated in Bouaké

Murder inquiry

A joint special patrol from Ferkessédougou comprising UNPOL and Military Observers yesterday conducted an investigation into three men reportedly missing since 3rd May 2007. The patrol was told by the Police Commissioner that the three men had gone frog hunting on 3rd May 2007 just outside Ferkessédogou. They failed to return the following day and their blood-stained clothes were found but not their bodies. The Milobs have continued with discreet inquiries in the town and to maintain liaison with the local law enforcement authorities. The Teamsite also recommends increased patrol along the area where the men went missing in co-ordination with UNPOL and NIGERBATT.

Arms embargo

Military Observers from Bondoukou yesterday conducted an arms embargo inspection at the National Armed Forces of Cote d'Ivoire (FANCI) camp in Sandegué situated in the Ghanaian Battalion's (GHANBATT) area of responsibility. However a similar inspection scheduled to be conducted in Mama and Ouragahio was cancelled when the Gendarmerie refused to cooperate. Similarly, in Zouan Hounien, the FANCI Commander would not allow an inspection to be conducted because he said he had not received instructions from his superiors.

Public Hearings

In Abidjan yesterday, UNOCI's Military Observers, UN Police and Electoral staff met to discuss the modalities for the monitoring of the forthcoming Public Hearings for Identification.

Military

BENINBAT yesterday provided escort and protection to UN agencies' staff members visiting the sites for humanitarian activities in Guiglo. The situation was calm.

UNOCI Sector East Commander and Officers from Licorne today attended the graduation ceremony of 117 Commandos from the Guepard Forces, some of whom are expected are expected be deployed in Mixed Brigades.

Miscellaneous

UNOCI's Public Information Office in Man participated in a press conference organized by a group from Zone 6 of the Forces Nouvelles area yesterday at the local radio station. The group, composed of 21 people, known as "Delegation", claim to be neutral, apolitical and non-electioneering. In his statement to journalists, the President of Civil Society in Man, Mr. Camara Daouda also known as Parigo, said that the Secretary-General of the Forces Nouvelles, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro has decided to create delegations in the 10 zones controlled by the Forces Nouvelles with a view to using them as intermediaries between them and the population in the implementation of his ideas. According to Mr. Camara, the military branch would be in charge of questions related to defence and national security, while the newly formed delegations, would carry out political activities on behalf of the Forces Nouvelles which would involve sensitizing people on the politics of the Prime Minister and monitoring the implementation of resolutions resulting from the direct dialogue, peace politics and the democratization of Cote d'Ivoire.

Humanitarian

UNOCI's Sector East Commander and the Force Commander of Licorne today participated in an inauguration ceremony for a new Maternity Health Centre in the Nimbo area of Bouaké. The hospital will serve 25,000 Ivorians and was renovated by Licorne. In a coordinated action, UNICEF will furnish and equip the hospital. Mr. Oomar Yusuf, the UNICEF, representative in Cote d'Ivoire, stated at the end of the ceremony that the medical facility was one of dozens that UNICEF was working on in order to make the life of citizens living in this region better, to make it easier for displaced people to return with dignity to their old homes and that the centre would help lower the mortality rate of mothers who need help when giving birth and would highlight the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Human Rights

In his ongoing tour of regional offices, the Chief of the Human Rights Division, Simon Munzu, started a three-day visit in the Bouaké region. In a working session with the Director of Police for the Forces Nouvelles, Mr. Nabalassé Koné, the visiting mission reviewed the human rights situation and the administration of justice in the area as well as the role of the recently established Forces Nouvelles Police Force in these processes. The Chief of Division stressed the importance of close cooperation between the Police

Department and the Bouaké Regional Human Rights Office in addressing human rights issues. The two parties deplored the current practice whereby some Forces Nouvelles military commanders and elements usurp the role of prosecutors and judges. Welcoming the visit of Mr. Munzu's delegation, the Director of the Police Department lauded the Human Rights Division for its public reports which, in his view contribute to dissuading Forces Nouvelles elements from continuing to commit human rights violations and serve as a human rights educational tool for these elements. He announced that the Forces Nouvelles authorities have recently released the six "young patriots" who were arrested and detained in Korhogo in 2005 accused of infiltration.

On 9 May, the Odienné Regional Human Rights Office and the West African Network for Peace Building in Côte d'Ivoire organized a sensitization campaign on the Convention for the Elimination of all Discrimination against Women and on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 for 153 members of women's organizations in Odienné. The session was also attended by representatives of the military Zone Commander, members of the Conseil Général and of the African Union Club, staff of UNOCI's Child Protection Unit and Electoral Section and the President of the Forces Nouvelles Youth Organisation. Among the subjects debated were the education of young girls as well as the active participation and involvement of women in the ongoing peace process.