UN condemns Ivorian massacre, calls for accountability

UN Chief asked Alassane Ouattara to probe the massacre of 800 civilians.

Updated: Apr 04, 2011, 00:25 AM IST

United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon has asked Ivory Coast`s internationally recognised
President Alassane Ouattara to investigate the massacre of 800
civilians reportedly carried out by his forces, a world body
spokesperson said on Sunday.

Ban expressed concern over killings in the violence
hit country. Martin Nesirky, UN spokesperson, said that Ban
spoke with Ouattara by phone yesterday in which the Ivorian
leader said he had launched an investigation.

"The Secretary-General said those responsible should
be held accountable," Nesirky said.

"President Ouattara, while denying his forces were
involved, said he had launched an investigation and would
welcome an international inquiry into the matter," he added.

The International Red Cross say about 800 people were
killed in an operation by pro-Ouattara forces in the town last
Tuesday as they took territory from Ivory Coast strongman
Laurent Gbagbo.

Following a disputed election in November, incumbent
leader Gbagbo and his rival Ouattara have been fighting to
take power in the country.

The country`s election commission and a UN team have
recognised that Ouattara as the winner of the elections.

This week, the Security Council imposed sanctions on
Gbagbo. India also raised objections to the UN siding with
Ouattara and that its 10,000 strong peacekeeping force (UNOCI)
should not be part of the political stalemate in the country.

"They (peacekeepers) cannot be made instruments of
regime change," India`s envoy Hardeep Singh Puri said.

"The UNOCI should also not get involved in a civil
war but carry out its mandate with impartiality and ensuring
safety and security of peacekeepers and civilians."
On this point, China took a similar stand as India.

"China always believes that the UN peacekeeping
operation should strictly abide by the principle of
neutrality," said Li Baodong, the Chinese envoy, noting that
UNOCI should avoid becoming a party to the conflict.