1. The Security Council, by its resolution 1880 (2009), extended the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French Licorne force until 31 January 2010, and requested me to report on the situation in Côte d'Ivoire and on the progress towards achieving the key benchmarks proposed in my report of 8 January 2009 (S/2009/21). The present report covers major developments since my report of 29 September 2009 (S/2009/495) until the end of December 2009. The benchmarks and indicators of progress are set out in annex I to the present report.
II. Security situation
2. During the period under review, the overall security situation in the country remained stable, despite an upsurge in armed robberies and other criminal activities, particularly in the west. Attacks by bandits armed with assault rifles and machetes resulted in the deaths of 16 persons and contributed to a sense of persistent insecurity in the areas of Duékoué, Guiglo and Bangolo specifically. In addition, following the start of the academic year, clashes between two rival student groups on 21 and 28 September, in Duékoué and Abidjan, respectively, disrupted school registration activities and led to material damage.