Côte d'Ivoire

Daily brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Friday, 15 Jun 2007

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Highlights

- UNOCI organizes seminar on election coverage in Bouaké

- Two people die during violent robbery in former ZOC

- UNOCI and UNMIL peacekeepers hold liaison meeting

- Human Rights Section investigates deaths by stoning in Divo area

Information and Electoral Process

A two-day seminar aimed at providing Ivorian journalists with the tools they need to cover upcoming elections in a professional manner, organized by the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (ONUCI) in collaboration with the International Foundation of Election Systems (IFES), began in Bouaké today. A similar event was held in Abidjan from 11 -13 June 2007. Speaking on behalf of the Officer in charge of the Mission, Mr. Abou Moussa, Ms. Margherita Amodeo, the Director of Public Information stressed the important role played by the media, before, during and after an election period. A total of 25 journalists are participating in the seminar.

Military

A liaison and information meeting between military representatives from UNOCI and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was held yesterday at Louguato Camp in Liberia. Participants discussed the security situation on the border between the two countries and the latest developments in Cote d' Ivoire. The two parties noted with satisfaction that no cross border movements of armed personnel or arms trafficking were recorded during the past month.

The monthly Tripartite Meeting between UNOCI, Licorne and the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces (FDSCI)was held in Abidjan yesterday. The Integrated Command Centre was represented for the first time by the Chief of Planning/DDR cell who provided an update on the Mixed Brigades and announced that all mixed units would be deployed within the former Zone of Confidence before the end of June. The meeting also discussed the behaviour of the Prefet of Gagnoa who demanded a few days ago that Impartial Forces should write a formal letter asking for permission to interact with the Préfets and Sous Préfets in the area. The FDSCI representative said that a formal letter would be sent to the Ministry of the Interior to stop such a behaviour.

Security

A violent robbery which reportedly left two people dead and three other injured near took place yesterday in Bonoufla, along the Daloa-Vavoua road, inside the former zone of confidence. A bus carrying 70 passengers was ambushed by five armed robbers carrying AK-47 rifles. According to UNPOL, the attackers opened fire on the bus and deflated its tyres thereby forcing the driver to stop; they were then joined by a group of about 10 young men who then robbed the passengers of their mobile phones, money and other goods. Two people died of bullet wounds during the incident. When a BANBATT patrol arrived on the scene, the robbers fled into the nearby bushes. Three injured people were taken to Daloa Hospital by the patrol. According to locals, this was the first roadside ambush in the area since the suppression of the former ZOC last April. UNPOL in Bonoufla Camp are investigating the incident.

In the same area, a major road accident that occurred the same day resulted in five deaths and left one person seriously injured. A passenger bus moving from Daloa to Vavoua collided with a minibus coming from the opposite direction. Three people died on the spot, while two others died as they were being evacuated to Daloa Hospital by BANBATT.

Arms embargo

Military Observers from Yamoussoukro teamsite yesterday conducted an arms embargo inspection at the FDSCI Air Base, located at Yamoussoukro Airport. The team was escorted by BANBATT.

Football

A Bangladesh-Côte d'Ivoire Football Friendship Cup Tournament kicked organized by BANBATT kicked off yesterday in UNOCI camp in Man. A total of 12 teams from Man and surrounding areas, as well as Bangladeshi contingent teams are participating in the competition aimed at bringing together the peacekeepers and the local population.

Human Rights

In the village of Akabia, located near Divo, three people accused of practicing witchcraft were stoned to death by the population on 8 June. This incident occurred following the death of a young man from Akabia village that was attributed to his two uncles and aunt. The Chief of village, the guardian of the local tradition, arrested for non assistance to a person in danger by the Gendarmerie of Divo and detained at the police station for several days, was released on 9 June. The case has been transferred to the Divo Court of First Instance for prosecution. [Comments: A mission conducted on 9 June by the Human Rights Division expressed serious concern over the rise in extrajudicial executions of persons suspected of witchcraft: . They are dispossessed of their personal belongings, marginalized and even killed. Two men have been detained at the Divo prison since September accused of practising witchcraft.]

On 13 June, the Regional Human Rights Office in Yamoussoukro attended the launching in Oumé of a coordination of human rights clubs composed of 56 students from six schools of the city in the presence of 150 students in total. The ceremony was punctuated by plays illustrating the rights of the child, the right to education and violence against women. [Comments: In collaboration with the Mayor of Oumé, the Regional Human Rights Office in Yamoussoukro has been assisting schools in the establishment of human rights clubs in several schools of the region]

As a positive impact of the actions and activities of the Working Group established to address the issue of rape and sexual abuses against women in Vridi (Abidjan), only one case of sexual abuse was reported in the area since December 2006. [Comments: The Human Rights Office in Abidjan documented several cases of sexual abuses and rape in the area before the launching of a sensitization campaign in December 2006 followed by the creation of a working group composed of representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights as well as human rights and humanitarian organizations to combat this phenomenon]