Ivory Coast witnessed 26 killings last month: UN

Ivory Coast residents blame last months killings on forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara.

Abidjan: Last month Ivory Coast witnessed around 26 killings, United Nations said. The residents blame these killings on forces loyal to President, who sworn into office in May amidst declarations guiding nation towards recovery after months of post election violence.

Local UN Human Right`s chief Guillaume Ngefa said on Thursday that the killings happened in parts of the country loyal to former strongman Laurent Gbagbo, a 17-month-old child was among those killed, he added.

A pro-Gbagbo tribe in the west attacked and killed locals and other areas witnessed deadly clashes between forces for President Alassane Ouattara and local youths, UN reported. The UN also added that armed robbers were killed in what appear to be acts of vigilante justice.

Presidential spokesman Alain Kakou said he did not know about the killings and further declined to comment on the issue. Ngefa said regional UN offices also received more than 100 reports of human rights violations in the past month, including 85 arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions, along with cases of extortion and racketeering.

He even said that eight mass graves had been found in July in Abidjan, the economic hub, but the number of bodies in the graves have not been counted yet. He also added that about 11 cases of rape and genital mutilation were also reported, primarily in Duekoue, a Western city, where a massacre took place over several days at the end of March.

In their May report Amnesty International said that the killings were carried out by forces loyal to Ouattara. "The human rights situation in the country remains precarious," he said. Gbagbo`s refusal to let go of power after losing the November poll plunged the country into months of violence that saw killing of thousands. He was later arrested in April by forces loyal to Ouattara.

Thursday`s account from the UN follows other reports accusing forces loyal to Ouattara of abuses during the post election crisis and after his inauguration.

A July report submitted by Amnesty International accused Ouattara`s Republican Forces for continuing the violence and intimidating against the ethnic groups perceived as having supported Gbagbo. Another report by Human Rights Watch released in June alleged that forces loyal to Ouattara are responsible for killing up to 149 people that are believed to be Gbagbo supporters.

The reports in July documented a slew of brutal killings a day after Ouattara`s inauguration within an area loyal to Gbagbo near Liberia`s border. Ouattara also added saying that all, who are found to have committed atrocities would be direly punished, regardless of their affiliation.

A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor`s office, Habiba Coulibaly, told agencies on Thursday that anyone found guilty of atrocities would face punishment. "If their guilt is established in the commission of any infraction, yes," she said.

Ngefa, the UN official, reportedly said that UN will work with newly appointed human rights team in the Ministry of Defense "so that disciplinary, administrative and judicial action be taken against elements of (pro-Ouattara forces), to put an end to impunity."

Gbagbo and his wife are in custody and have not been charged yet. A week earlier Gbagbo`s son and 11 others were charged over their postelection activities and yet no member of Ouattara`s group has been charged.

Bureau Report

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