Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Tuesday, 12 Jun 2007

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Highlights

- A militia group based in Vavoua offers to hand in its weapons

- Mixed Brigade investigates attempted robbery near Binao village in the west

- Four arrested during students demonstration in Guiglo

Militias

The Front de libération de Vavoua, (FLV) a 2,500-member strong militia group has offered to hand over its weapons. The group based in Daloa operated along the Vavoua - Daloa axis during the conflict and presently, most of their combatants are in Daloa. According to UNPOL, the group regularly meets in the old soap factory, previously used as a Licorne camp. The chief of the militia, commandant Gbloh who spoke on the phone to the UNPOL local teamsite said his men were willing to disarm and wanted to benefit from what he called "the special treatment" given to Guiglo militias. The FLV leader appealed to ONUCI and Ivorian authorities for prompt action with regard to them. He revealed that three other militias were based in Daloa. They are : the Groupement des résistants pour la libération du Centre-Ouest, the Mouvement populaire pour la libération du Grand Ouest and the Comités des jeunes patriotes assurant la sécurité des villages.

Security

Military Observers from Teamsite Duékoué yesterday reported an attempted armed robbery near Binao on 10th June 2007. The criminals fired at a public transport vehicle but the driver did not stop and continued the journey towards Bangolo. The Mixed Brigade is still investigating the matter.

UNPOL reported that students held a massive demonstration yesterday in Guiglo and mounted illegal road blocks on all major roads. They also burnt tyres in the middle of the roads. The demonstrators were later dispersed by the Ivorian Police who arrested four people in connection with the disturbances. The students' leaders have travelled to Abidjan to seek a meeting with Ministry of Education officials over their grievances.

Elections

A regional working group on elections has been created in UNOCI HQ Daloa. It comprises all UNOCI substantive and support sections. Among other objectives assigned to the group is to exchange information on the evolution of the electoral process in Sector West.

In Sector East, the UNOCI's Electoral Assistance Office based in Bouaké today facilitated a coordination and orientation meeting in Korhogo organised by the Independent Electoral Commission for the Vallée du Bandama Region, also based in the northern city.

Human Rights

A team composed of the Regional Human Rights Office in Yamoussoukro and the Technical and Cooperation Unit attended a conference organised by the NGO, Action pour la Protection des Droits de l'Homme (APDH) in Divo on the theme: "Human Rights and Social Cohesion". The meeting was attended by 200 participants, including the local political, civilian and military authorities, representatives of "Young Patriots" groups, members of the student union Fédération Estudiantine et Scolaire de Côte d'Ivoire (FESCI), as well as members of the Congrès des Jeunes Patriotes (COJEP). The Human Rights Division representatives granted an interview to the local radio station, Radio Fraternité Divo, in which they presented the mandate of the Division and called on the population to respect the rights to life, and to physical integrity, to property and to freedom of expression.

On 9 June, on the sidelines of the conference, a team composed of the Regional Human Rights Office in Yamoussoukro and the Technical and Cooperation Unit of the Human Rights Division inquired into allegations that people suspected of witchcraft were subjected of torture by stoning in the region of Divo [Comments: Three people have so far been summarily executed by the population during the first week of June. The local gendarmerie is following the case. The Yamoussoukro Regional Office is planning to undertake a fact-finding mission to conduct a more detailed investigation into this phenomenon.] On 8 June, the Regional Human Rights Office in Abidjan participated in a ceremony launching a human rights club at the Lycée Moderne Le Mahou in Cocody Angré (Abidjan district). The ceremony was attended by 250 students, 10 members of the human rights club as well as teachers. The Office presented the mandate of the UNOCI Human Rights Division with particular emphasis on human rights protection mechanisms and the Division's partnership with Ivorian authorities and human rights NGOs. Participants agreed to introduce a human rights course within the school curriculum.