Côte d'Ivoire

Daily brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Thursday, 14 Jun 2007


- UNOCI's OIC attends ECOWAS meetings in Abuja

- FANCI soldiers prevent FESCI members from going to Guiglo

- Mixed brigades in Sector West praised for bringing down crime rate

- UNOCI donates books to University of Bouaké

- FAFN soldier seeks UNOCI's help after alleged death threat


The Officer in Charge of the United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire, Abou Moussa, yesterday traveled to Abuja, Nigeria, to attend the ministerial session of the Mediation and Security Committee of the Economic Community for the West African States (ECOWAS). The meeting will prepare the ECOWAS summit due to review progress made in the Ivorian peace process three months after the signing of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement by President Laurent Gbagbo and the Secretary-General of the Forces Nouvelles, Guillaume Soro, under the auspices of ECOWAS Chairman, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso


The prosecutor of San Pedro yesterday told a UNPOL team that the prosecution and conviction of 11 people , accused of illegal logging in the Bas-Sassandra region was carried out according to Ivorian law. Angry villagers in Mossadougou have been demonstrating against the detention of the group. The 72-hour ultimatum they have given to local authorities expires today. The demonstrators, who do not regard the convicted as wrongdoers, have threatened to take further action if the detainees are not freed.

A group of students from the Fédération estudiantine et scolaire de Côte d'Ivoire (FESCI - Cote d'Ivoire Students' Union) who were heading to Guiglo were intercepted and forced to return to Duékoué by security forces. The group wanted to meet the representatives of the Guiglo chapter of FESCI to voice their objections to an agreement signed between the local FESCI leaders and the city's authorities which resulted in the former calling off a strike.


Residents in Oumé have expressed concern over the identification process. Many people of the city, located south of Yamoussoukro, yesterday told a visiting UNPOL patrol that they did not have IDs and were anxiously waiting for the identification process in order to obtain the necessary documents.

Mixed brigades

Since 10 June 2007, UNPOL Bouaké has been sending four or five of its police officers to N'Gatta Dolikro to work with ten gendarmes from the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces who are based at the Observation Post. However the team is not a Mixed Brigade as the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FAFN) have not yet sent gendarmes or soldiers to participate in the daily patrols.


Most of the participants at the monthly JMAC meeting in Duékoué have praised the work of the mixed brigades, which have helped to drastically reduce criminal activities in the former Zone of Confidence. The meeting also noted with deep concern the continuing unrest among former militiamen, fueled by the alleged embezzlement by their leaders of huge sums of money allocated to the militias by President Laurent Gbagbo in return for handing in their weapons. With regard to DDR, participants were of the view that the Armed Forces of Forces Nouvelles (FAFN) did not trust the process and are maintaining a policy of "wait and see".

BENINBATT reported yesterday that the preparations for DDM continued. Guiglo, Bloléquin and Toulépleu sites have been equipped with four containers each.

Arms embargo

The Abidjan Reserve Team yesterday conducted an arms embargo inspection at the1st Infantry Battalion (Akouédo Nord) along with personnel from UNPOL while TOGOBATT provided security escort. The inspection team faced some difficulty due to non-receipt of the fax for inspection at the site through proper channels. However, after negotiating with the authorities, it was settled and the inspection was conducted successfully. Besides the inspection itself, the team observed approximately 1,000 newly recruited soldiers undergoing training in the battalion's compound.


UNOCI yesterday delivered scores of legal textbooks to the University of Bouaké as part of the formal opening ceremony of the University's new academic year. The Mission's Chief Legal Officer, Ms. Therese De Saint Phalle, represented the Officer in Charge, Mr. Abou Moussa at the ceremony. The more than 600 students present cheered as the books were donated. This is the second time in five months that UNOCI has facilitated the donation of books to the University of Bouaké. The books were given to the University of Bouaké, via the United Nations, by the Paris-based publishing house Nexus-Lexus.

Military Observers from Teamsite Odienné yesterday attended a handover ceremony of different materials and equipment to the women's NGO "PROMO FEMME 2000" to help them in their effort to improve the sanitation in the town. The ceremony was organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross and attended by representatives from OCHA, Regional Environmental Department, Canton Chiefs, Radio Denguelé, along with ONUCI's Human Rights and Electoral Sections. BANBATT and UNPOL were also present.

Human Rights

On 13 and 14 June, the Regional Human Rights Office in Odiénné organized a two-day human rights training session for 34 soldiers of the FAFN posted at Mazéla, Tienko and Tiefinzo (located 75 km, 83 km and 112 km north of Odienné respectively) at the request of the FN north-west Zone Commander, Ousmane Coulibaly, alias Ben Laden. The session covered the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. The Zone Commander stated that raising human rights awareness among FAFN soldiers is expected to bring about a reduction in human rights violations perpetrated by them in the region. The Human Rights Office is planning to organize additional sessions in other cities of the region.

On 12 June, the Regional Human Rights Office in Abidjan held a working session with Mr. François Guëi, the new General Director of Human Rights and Prison Administration in the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights to discuss a partnership between the two units. Among the subjects examined were the creation of human rights clubs in schools, the application of the Amnesty Ordinance and the implementation of the national human rights commission. Regarding the Human Rights Commission, the director stated that it would be operational at the end of this month. He added that at least four more prisoners would benefit from the amnesty ordinance as they are soon to be released from the Maison d'Arrêt et de Correction d'Abidjan (MACA). He designated Mr. Joseph Aka and Mr. Koffi, two senior staff of his department, to liaise with UNOCI's Human Rights Division in general and the Abidjan.