Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Cote d'Ivoire for Wednesday 25 Apr 2007

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
Highlights

- Attack on BCEAO in Bouaké

- Arms embargo inspections at Boundiali, Abidjan and Doropo

- Licorne dispatches troops against road pirates in Kouassi Kouassikro

Ivorian Military Chiefs to attend Moroccan medal parade

Attack

At approximately 01.00 this morning some thirty armed men attacked the BCEAO in Bouaké. Due to advance information MORBAT, who had stepped-up their patrols around the bank, were ready to react. At 01.20 in the morning the Forces nouvelle guarding the bank, called MORBAT for assistance. Within ten minutes four armed jeeps full of MORBATT soldiers, and one Armored Personnel Carrier arrived on the scene. There was a standoff for some 30 minutes and then the attackers re-scaled the wall they had penetrated and disappeared into the night. The Sector East HQ Military contacted UNPOL and FPU during the night for re-enforcements. MORBATT stayed at the bank until the morning.

SEHQ Military and security officials are undertaking a more in-depth investigation about this attack. It appears that the men who went into the bank compound had been gathering throughout the evening not far from the bank. The men were well armed with automatic weapons. It is still not clear if they were in military uniforms. Another question that has been raised is why the FN needed MORBAT support, when the attack was undertaken by only 30 men. One possibility is that the men attacking the bank were from the FAFN and the FN did not want to fire on their own elements. No shots were fired, but when the men saw that MORBATT were in place and prepared to take action, they left.

According to a part of the population in Bouaké, UNOCI's intervention prevented a firefight which could turn into factional fighting and lead to a total security breakdown in the region.

Arms Embargo

Unoci Military Observers based in Korhogo along with Licorne and UNPOL carried out an arms embargo inspection at FAFN Unit in Boundiali. NIGERBATT provided security and escort. Another group of Abidjan-based Impartial Forces conducted a similar operation at Bataillon Sol-Air d'Akouedo II. Togobatt provided escort and security. In turn, GHANBATT provided escort and security for Bouna Military Observers and UNPOL who inspected FAFN camp at Doropo. Nothing illicit was reported following the three inspections.

Security

Following yesterday morning's special briefing on the ZOC transition, Licorne today announced that they had moved a battle group into the area of Kouassi-Kouassikro region to look into the question of road pirates operating from this area. They will be in this area of the ZOC for the coming days. Licorne is also continuing its foot patrols in Bouaké city, which helps to re-ensure the local population.

Investigation

UNPOL is continuing to assist the local gendarmerie in the investigation of the killing that took place in Belleville on Sunday. They have identified the murderer and believe that he has fled Bouaké. Another death was also reported by UNPOL today. This one occurred in Korhogo behind the UNOCI camp on 23 April 2007. The body of a young man was found drowned in a grave that had filled up with water. According to preliminary information the young man (17 yrs. of age), wanted to cool off and swim in the water and ended up drowning.

Medal Parade

Tomorrow 26 April, the 6th Contingent of MORBATT will celebrate their UN Commemorative medal ceremony at the Bouaké international airport. Amongst the guests expected are Deputy SRSG Georg Charpentier,General Soumaila Bakayoko head of the FAFN, General Philippe Mangou, head of the FDS-CI, and others not yet confirmed from the Government of National Unity and the Forces nouvelles.

Human Rights

On 21 April, the Regional Human Rights Office in Bouaké attended the closing ceremony of the training project on raising human rights in schools implemented by the human rights NGO Mouvement Ivoirien des droits humains (MIDH). The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Forces Nouvelles, the ONUCI, the Force Licorne, the first secretary of the German Embassy, the Director of the Regional Directorate for National Education and about 200 children. The Office made a presentation entitled "democracy and non-violence in the school environment" with reference to international human rights standards and the national law. The paper also analyzed the root causes of the different forms of violence such as physical punishment, gender based sexual violence, vexations and political violence and their consequences on human rights.

On 23 April, the Regional Human Rights Office in Odienné held a working session with the Commanders of the Military Operation and the Gendarmerie of the region of Odienné. The objective of the session was to share with the commanders the Office's concern on the increasing number of highwaymen attacks on the northern parts of the region where in the last incidents eight people have been severely injured, on 17 and 21 April. The Office also reported that this type of incident increased with the dismantling of the zone of confidence and continue to infringe the freedom of movement of the population. Both Commanders requested a close collaboration with the UNPOL in order to secure the region and protect the villagers. On the same development, on 21 April, the Regional Human rights office in Duékoué reported the attack on the road Logualé-Bangolo of a van by highwaymen, of more than ten people. The perpetrators shot at the twenty passengers before bringing them in the field to forcibly take all their personal belongings. The passengers were beaten up, three women were raped and five others were victim of sexual abuses during the search. The Office is following the case with the local authorities.

On 20 April, the Daloa Regional Human Rights Office held a working session with the Prosecutor of the Republic of Daloa, Mr. Koné Bernard to assess the situation of inmates of the Maison d'Arrêt et de Correction de Daloa. The Office discussed the case of a lady who is detained since 30 November 2006 under the allegation of being involved in witchcraft activities which causes the death of a young man. She has been sentenced to five-year imprisonment and fined FCFA 75.000 (around USD 155). The Office also discussed on two cases of long pre-trial detention. The case of a Burkinabé lady, detained since 18 August 2006 who was arrested for having refused to collaborate with the police forces and the case of a former militia chief accused of the alleged murder of a military and detained since 30 June 2005. The Prosecutor advised the Office to contact the Magistrate for the follow up of these two last cases.