Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Friday 25 May 2007

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Highlights

- Shots heard in Guiglo as Military Prefet receives more weapons

- Ex-militiamen and Young Patriots demonstrate outside UNOCI camp in Duékoué

- Moroccan battalion help prepare Bouaké football stadium for big match

DDM/DDR

Shots were heard early yesterday morning in Guiglo and according to the Gendarmerie Brigade Commander who informed BENINBATT, the shots created worry among the population. Nobody could identify the persons behind these acts. But according to the gendarmes, MILOCI and FLGO militiamen have given an ultimatum to their commanders for payment of a supposed amount of 250,000CFA promised to them by President Gbagbo.

The Military Prefet of Guiglo yesterday informed BENINBATT that he had received more weapons, ammunition and other accessories from ex-combatants that he would like to hand over to them. In a related incident the battalion also reported that an ex-combatant from UPRGO came to their battalion HQ on 23rd May 2007 wanting to deposit a weapon because he was sick on 19th May. The peacekeepers explained to him that UNOCI forces are not in charge of disarmament and that he should take the weapon to the local authorities of Guiglo. Three officers from the Engineering Section at Force HQ yesterday visited BENINBATT to inspect weapons collected so far.

A group of 25 to 30 Young Patriots and former militiamen gathered in front of the UNOCI camp in Duékoué yesterday to protest over the alleged embezzling of money, given by President Laurent Gbagbo by their leader Colombo. They complained that Colombo had fled from the town after receiving money from the President to pay them for handing in their weapons at a dismantling of militias ceremony 19th May 2007. They asked UNOCI to provide them with transportation to take them to Abidjan as they wanted to meet the President. After a long discussion, the UNOCI Security Officer was able to convince them to disperse.

Colonel Kouakou, head of the Integrated Command Centre (ICC) in Yamoussoukro said yesterday that the majority of the 17 DDR sites visited by four different teams comprising officias from the ICC, PNDDR, UNOCI and BNET were in good condition. He said however that the recommendations made by the different teams would be taken into account when the evaluation report is presented to the relevant authorities. A meeting to address some of the problems raised by the evaluation missions are expected to be discussed at a meeting in the Prime Minister's office today.

Security

The Defence and Security Forces of Cote d'Ivoire (FDS-CI) of Daoukro have asked the Impartial Forces to increase their patrols in the area of Kouassi-Kouassikro in the former Zone of Confidence in Sector East. According to information shared this morning in Bouaké, the Mayor of the town asked the FDS-CI to request Licorne and UNOCI to send more patrols to this region as the amount of banditry is increasing.

Mixed Brigade

The Licorne Liaison Officer in Sector East this morning reported that the first Gendarmerie Mixed Brigade in the sector is due to take up its duties in N'Gatta Dolikro, on 28 May 2007 on the main access route between the north and the south of the country. N'Gatta Dolikro was the first Observation Point symbolically opened by President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro on 16th April 2007.

Arms embargo

A patrol from Yamoussoukro Teamsite yesterday carried out an arms embargo inspection at the air unit located in the town. The patrol was accompanied by UNPOL and Licorne.

Miscellaneous

UNOCI's Moroccan battalion has been providing one cistern full of water each day for the last ten days to water the grass at the football stadium in Bouakéé in preparation for the Cote d'Ivoire/Madagascar match scheduled for 3rd June 2007. UNOCI has also assisted with transporting waste material away from the stadium and has assisted the organizers with a crane to help lift heavy objects into place around the stadium. The Mission's military contingents will work closely with Licorne, and the Bangladeshi Formed Police Unit to help provide security for the match in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles.

Human Rights

On 23 May 2007, the Regional Human Rights Office in Bouaké participated in the second phase of the programme "Ecoles pacifiées 2007" organized by the NGO Association des Elèves de Côte d'Ivoire pour la promotion de la paix (ASECIP) at Collège Moderne Koko [Ref: Sitrep of 23 May 2007]. The Office made a statement on violence at school with particular reference to political violence as evidenced the attacks of the offices of human rights NGOs in Abidjan on 21 May. 300 students, the director of the school, two representatives of the UNOCI's Electoral Division, the Secretary General of the Regional Directorate of National Education, elements of the Force Licorne, the Director of the office of the newspaper Fraternité Matin in Bouaké attended the event. Students performed a play and a dance to illustrate violence in schools and on campuses. They also read peace messages in local languages.

On 23 May 2007, within the framework of the voluntary return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their hometowns and farmlands, the Regional Human Rights Office in Duékoué organized a sensitization campaign in the Sous-Préfecture of Zou in the region of Bangolo. The aim of the session was to sensitize the IDPs on the respect of human rights and the promotion of peaceful co-existence. Around 120 IDPs members of the associations Kohou and Djao, attended this session that focused on the theme "Citizenship and right to property". Comment: The return of IDPs is certain to raise the issue of land and plantations tenure that has often led to intercommunity clashes, especially in the West of the country.

The Canadian University, a private institution in the district of Cocody in Abidjan was looted by students on 21 May 2007. On 23 May, following the statement of the Secretary General of the student union, Fédération Estudiantine et Scolaire de Côte d'Ivoire, FESCI, threatening to shut down private universities to prevent striking teachers of state universities from teaching in these private institutions, UNOCI's Human Rights Office found that most of the private institutions were either closed or partly opened throughout the day. The secular faculties (as opposed to religious study departments) of the Université Catholique de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (UCAO) have been partially closed until 29 May 2007 by the univserty's authorities. Comment: Teachers of state Universities have been on strike since the end of March.