- Military Observers threatened by Young Patriots in Divo
- UNOCI prevented from carrying out embargo inspection in Bondoukou
- UNOCI and agencies support vaccination drive in the north;
ONUCI's School Caravan, launched on 14 February 2007 as part of efforts to promote the Ivorian peace process, today visited a Methodist Secondary School in Abidjan, the second of 26 schools - 13 each in Abidjan and the hinterland - that it is scheduled to visit. The aim of these visits, organized by UNOCI with the cooperation of the Ministry of Education, the Scouts Movement of Cote d'Ivoire and a local Rotaract Club, is to sensitize students on the Mission's mandate and involve them in the search of peace in their country. Representatives of various sections of ONUCI are involved in the caravan.
Denial of Freedom of Movement
Military Observers in charge of the Gagnoa area who went to Divo on 19 March 2007 to look for a suitable teamsite location were verbally abused by Young Patriots, who also asked to leave a restaurant where they had gone to eat. The peacekeepers had gone to the restaurant not knowing that some 30 Young Patriots were holding a meeting there. The Milobs were obliged to leave after the Young Patriots threatened to destroy their vehicle. They went to the local Gendarmerie Company HQ, where they explained the incident to the company commander. The Milobs also wanted to meet the prefect and Young Patriot leader in Divo, but were told that the Prefect was not available and it was better not to meet the Young Patriot leader then.
On 20 March 2007, Military Observers, UNPOL Bondoukou and GHANBATT went to the local FANCI camp to carry out an arms embargo inspection but were prevented from doing so after the soldiers claimed that had not been informed.
Following continued clashes between students of Lycee Modern Dondela Fondation Khalil Ahmad and young people from Gbokora, a Daloa suburb, there were rumours today that at least one person had been killed during the disturbances. These rumours led the students to organize another demonstration in the city centre. As at 7.30a.m today the Gbokara youths, armed with machetes, stones and sticks, had occupied the high school's premises on the main road from Daloa to Vavoua. The students also armed with the same weapons, in turn organized a large demonstration on the main Daloa -Vavoua road. They also burnt tyres and wooden structures on the main road. The police eventually managed to disperse both groups. The situation was reportedly calm late morning, but Military Observers from Teamsite Daloa reported that three people were injured during the clashes - one of them critically, having suffered bullet wounds. UNOCI fears that the violent clashes may continue unless efforts are made to resolve the problem amicably. UNOCI personnel in Daloa have been urged to be more vigilant while the situation is being monitored.
In San Pedro on 19 March 2007, participants at UNOCI's weekly security meeting assessed that although the current security situation is calm there is tension due to three factors: the expulsion of the COJEP leader Ble Sepe Marc, the clash between Burkinabés and Oumpoh ethnic community and the deadline fixed for Liberian refugees to return home by 30 June 2007 or otherwise lose their status as refugees. The meeting assessed that these three factors could potentially lead to clashes.
On 20 March 2007, Military Observers who attended the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FDS-FN) weekly meeting in Danané were told by Sector Commander Eddy Meddy that the government will be deploying Young Patriots to Duékoué, Toulepleu, Daloa and Bloléquin and that this deployment may become a source of violence. The Police Commissioner in Danané also confirmed the information, adding that the deployment had started on 16 March 2007.
A PAKBATT patrol sent on the night of 19 March 2007 to investigate shots which were heard in Bangolo learnt that some of the shooting had been carried out by six robbers who had stolen rice, sugar and beans from a shop owned by a Guére man. The robbers fired shots in the air during their escape. The patrol also learnt that two Dioula men who went to investigate were beaten up by a group of Guéres who accused them of being the robbers. The two men then left for their homes but later returned with a group of men - some of whom were armed. They then began firing into the air hitting the outer wall of a schoolteacher's house. Yesterday morning a group of people from different ethnic groups gathered outside the PAKBATT camp to ask the peacekeepers' for assistance in settling the dispute. A reconciliation meeting was organised by the Camp Commander during which everyone agreed to resolve any future disputes amicably.
Gender and Health
UNOCI Rule of Law and Gender units will be participating in a day of sensitization on violence against women and girls and reconciliation. The day, which has been organized by the Ivorian Association of Women Jurists, in collaboration with the Ministry of War Victims and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will comprise of a seminar in the morning and an afternoon session of free consultations by lawyers for women and girls who are facing such problems.
UNOCI, UNICEF and WHO are supporting the Ivorian Ministry of Health in a ten-day vaccination campaign against meningitis in and around the northern city of Ferkessedougou. The campaign aims to vaccinate some 200,000 individuals. There has been a meningitis outbreak in Burkina Faso and the Ivorian health authorities, with the assistance of the UN, decided to take preventive measures against the disease.
The Regional Human Rights Office in Odienné held a working session on 19 March with the UNDP Field Programme Officer responsible for poverty alleviation in the regions of Denguélé, Bafing and Woroudougou. The two offices discussed various issues, including the reduction of poverty to facilitate access to education and health, and capacity building for local human rights NGOs.
On 19 March, the Regional Human Rights Office in Duékoué conducted a one-day sensitization session at the Sainte Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus Parish. The session, which brought together 29 young professional trainees aged between 19 and 25, focussed on human rights and the culture of peace.