Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Wednesday 6 Jun 2007

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Highlights

- UNOCI, UN agencies agree on new security recommendations for Duékoué

- Armed bandits - one in BANBATT uniform - perpetrate attacks in the west

- UNOCI takes its eighth schools caravan to Abidjan's Cocody suburb

Outreach

More than 200 students attended the eighth leg of UNOCI's schools caravan, which was held today at the Lycee Classique in the Abidjan suburb of Cocody. The event was addressed by the Mission's Spokesman Hamadoun Touré, who recalled that the institution had produced many of Côte d'Ivoire's leaders. As potential leaders, the students should contribute to the peace effort since the future belonged to them, Mr. Touré stressed. The schools caravan, which was launched on 14th February 2007, sensitizes students to the culture of peace.

Seminar

A training seminar for some 70 community radio journalists, organised by UNOCI in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Côte d'Ivoire's National Council for Audiovisual Communication (CNCA) and the National Union of Journalists of Côte d'Ivoire (UNJCI), ended today in Grand Bassam - about 40 km east of Abidjan. The seminar dealt with issues such as the role and responsibility of community radios in the peace process and the establishment of a network of partner radios for the Mission's peace-promotion campaign, "On the Road to Peace".

Security

At a security meeting held yesterday in UNOCI's Duékoué camp participants agreed on the following recommendations:

- Armed escorts on the Duékoué -Logoualé road should be suspended due to the improved security situation.

- Field missions along secondary roads in the former Zone of Confidence (ZOC) must be conducted under armed escort.

- Missions dealing with food distribution or transport of materials should be conducted under armed escort.

- Travel within the ex-ZOC should be restricted to between 08H00 and 17H00.

- Avoid granting audiences to militia groups

Following yesterday's report (Daily Brief - 5 June 2007) on an attack on a checkpoint manned by soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FAFN), it has now been confirmed that the attack was carried out against FAFN soldiers travelling in a vehicle in the Maradiassa area, between Bouaké and Mankono. The attackers then made off with the vehicle. The soldiers were returning to Mankono after watching the Cote d'Ivoire - Madagascar football match in Bouaké when they were attacked. The Commander of FAFN Zone 4 sent reinforcements, which intercepted the attackers. However, during an exchange of fire, the Chief of security of Zone 4 was killed. The stolen vehicle was later recovered although the attackers escaped.

One of a group of armed bandits who attacked a Lebanese businessman and five Ivorians yesterday along the road from Guiglo to Zagne, was wearing a BANBATT uniform and a UN blue beret. It is believed the uniforms and berets were stolen during the attack on BANBATT's camp in Guiglo in January 2006. The bandits escaped with over 12.5 million CFA and a mobile phone. National Armed Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FANCI) soldiers, who were the first to arrive on the scene of the attack, pursued the culprits, but they escaped.

Two dead bodies were founded in a cocoa plantation near Yapleu in the Logoualé area (former ZOC). Villagers told BANBATT that the two corpses were those of two persons reported missing since 30 May. They had been accused of witchcraft by the local population.

Arms embargo

Military observers (Milobs) from Teamsite Bouaké conducted an arms embargo inspection at the 3eme Région Militaire yesterday. The team was escorted by MORBATT. A similar inspection was conducted by Milobs and UNPOL from Abengourou at a Gendarmerie platoon in Bettie on the same day. BANBATT and Licorne provided escorts.

Miscellaneous

A UNPOL and Milobs patrol which yesterday went to Boprix village, located 11 km from N' Gatta-Dolikro in the former Zone of Confidence were asked by the village chief to help solve a land problem between the villagers of Boprix and neighbouring Akandi. According to the chief, the problem, which has lasted a number of years, is related to the way Akandi villagers exploit a forest close to Boprix. The Chief said that various local authorities in Tiebissou failed to solve the problem over the years because the villagers in Akandi have refused all reconciliation efforts and continue to send death threats to their neighbours in Boprix.

Up to 880 internally displaced people (IDP) in Nicla Camp and 3,528 others living in Guiglo have started returning to their villages. According to BENINBAT, they were escorted during their journey by the International Organization of Migration (IOM)

Human Rights

On 1 June, the Regional Human Rights Office in Korhogo conducted a fact-finding mission to Ferkéssédougou and the village of Fodonkaha (located 35 km south West of Ferkéssédougou) to pursue an investigation into the case of the five Peuhls detained at the police station since 29 May on the accusation of cattle rustling. The dozos (traditional hunters) handed them over to the police who have opened an investigation into the case. [See Sitrep of 1 June 2007]. The office found that the five detainees had marks of torture on their bodies inflicted by the dozos. Three of them had burns on their back and chest and the other two had marks on their feet. They alleged that they had been tied to a tree with ropes on their feet and beaten with wooden sticks. The Office met with the chief of the village as well as the dozos, to whom it expressed concern over the way they rendered justice.