Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Wednesday 23 May 2007

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Originally published
Highlights

- O-I-C Abou Moussa meets delegation of Young Patriots;

- Governor of Moyen Cavally tells UNOCI President Gbagbo paid militias to disarm;

- BENINBATT reports 1,027 weapons were handed in by militias;

- Public transport drivers accuse Mixed Brigade in Zéalé of extortion.

Political

UNOCI o-i-c Abou Moussa, accompanied by CPIO Margherita Amodeo, today received a delegation of Young Patriots at UNOCI HQ in Abidjan. Issues discussed included relations between UNOCI and the Patriots, who complained that their requests for meetings with Mr Moussa's predecessors had been rejected and thanked him for receiving them. They expressed willingness to cooperate with UNOCI. They also asked UNOCI to support their efforts to have Young patriot leader Charles Blé Goudé dropped from the list of sanctioned Ivorian personalities.

Mr Moussa explained the sanctions and delisting process to the delegation as well as UNOCI's role in this regard, which is to provide information. He stated that UNOCI would continue to report on developments in the peace process, including any contributions made by the Young Patriots and their leader to the process. The UNOCI oi- c also mentioned the need for all to adhere and contribute to the peace process.

DDR

The Military Governor of Moyen Cavally confirmed during a meeting with UNOCI's PAKBATT commander yesterday in Duékoué that President Laurent Gbagbo had distributed money to militia leaders in Guiglo to continue the DDM [disarmament and demobilization of the militias] process. However, BENINBATT reports that the sharing of the money has created frustration among militiamen on the ground, who claim that they have not received their fair share. This, the battalion said, could cause a major conflict within their ranks. After receiving an undisclosed amount, local APWÉ militia leader Colombo reportedly vanished from the area with his family. A group of angry militiamen have reportedly destroyed his house. UNPOL Duékoué reported that Colombo told them that he was in Abidjan, but gave no reason for his presence in the commercial capital. The situation remains tense in Duékoué and Guiglo, where hundreds of excombatants are based.

BENINBAT yesterday finished counting of arms and ammunition given to them by local authorities in Guiglo on 19 May 2007. A total of 1027 arms were handed in.

Security

Traditional hunters known as Dozos have killed four of six robbers who allegedly attacked their village in the Zou area near Danané, according to the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles Sector Commander Captain Eddie Meddy. He said the killings were carried out last week, but could not give any further details.

Accusations of extortion of money have surfaced against the newly-created mixed brigades, comprising FANCI and FAFN gendarmes. Drivers of vehicles operating along the Danane-Zouan Hounien road have complained to UNOCI that they have been paying 1,000 CFA to mixed brigade elements. Passengers have made similar complaints against them.

Jordanian guards yesterday reported shooting in Koumassi. A small crowd gathered around the area on hearing the shots, but dispersed after 15 minutes. It was later learnt that the shots had been fired during a dispute between some local residents.

The Human Right Office Yamoussoukro yesterday reported that on 16 May 2007, four transporters unions reached an informal agreement with representatives of the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces to take 1,000 CFA ($2) and 500 CFA ($1) from minibuses once a day in order to cut down their losses. In this regard the FDS would record the numbers of the vehicles and the payment they have made everyday. However taxi drivers complain that certain policemen continue to extort money from them several times a day.

Arms embargo

BANBATT special patrols yesterday provided protection to Military Observers from Odiennné and Danané who conducted arms embargo inspections at FDS-FN checkpoints.

UNPOL and military observers in Yamoussoukro will attend a training course on arms embargo inspections at Yamoussoukro Airport tomorrow.

Public Information

UNOCI today held the sixth leg of its Schools Caravan - a series of information and sensitization sessions in Abidjan and environs - at a secondary school in Anyama, some 20 km from Abidjan. The event was attended by about 1000 students, the mayor, traditional leaders and representatives of the local authorities. The aim of the caravan is to explain the Mission's mandate to students and helping to develop a culture of peace among them

Miscellaneous

UNFPA is to inaugurate its new offices in Yamoussoukro tomorrow. The ceremony will be covered by ONUCI-FM.

Human Rights

On 19 May 2007, within the framework of the first phase of the "Ecoles pacifiées 2007" programme run by the NGO ASECIP, the Regional Human Rights Office in Bouaké made a presentation at the Lycée Djibo Sounkalo on violence in schools and political violence in Côte d'Ivoire. The event was attended by 50 pupils and representatives of the Regional Directorate of National Education, the Licorne, the Ivorian Red Cross, and the Director of the local television, TVNP. The programme aims at preventing and ending the rampant violence in schools.

On 21 May, the Regional Human Rights office in Bouaké visited the police cells at the Poste de Commandement Operationnel (PCO). Some 17 university students (13 male and 4 female) who were arrested for participating in a peaceful demonstration against the decision of the Centre Régional des OEuvres Universitaires (CROU) to grant financial aid to only 500 students at the University of Bouaké are in detention at the PCO. The students claimed they were beaten up by members of the Students Committee in the presence of over 20 FAFN soldiers, including some from the PCO, who did nothing to assist them. The Regional Human Rights office found that five of the 17 students detained at the PCO had injuries on their backs, chests and stomachs. In response to a request from the Office to release these students, the Police Prefect of Bouaké, Sylvain Gnamien, said that he had arrested them for security reasons.