Human Rights Groups Report Reprisal Killings in Côte d’Ivoire
Report released by Amnesty International charges that armed men fighting for both President Alassane Ouattara and ousted strongman Laurent Gbagbo carried out crimes against civilians. The report charges both sides with targeting their victims by their political affiliation, ethnicity or even names. Reprisal attacks and killings are still being committed by pro-Ouattara forces, six weeks after he came to power vowing peace and reconciliation, Amnesty International warned today. Ouattara, championed by the west during a deadly post-election conflict, has failed to condemn atrocities against real or perceived supporters of ousted president Gbagdo, the human rights group said. Amnesty also criticized the UN mission in Ivory Coast for ignoring pleas for help and for failing to prevent a massacre in the western town of Duékoué. The below video, produced by TV channel France24, does not mention this UN’s failure.
Amnesty’s report, which drew from interviews with hundreds of witnesses, detailed numerous cases where even women and children were targeted for ethnic, political or religious reasons. The report broke the violence into two phases. The first phase occurred in the urban center of Abidjan and was largely perpetrated by Gbagbo’s forces. The violence then moved to the countryside after Ouattara accepted the help of northern rebels, who killed hundreds as they pushed toward Abidjan.
Evidence collected by Amnesty International clearly demonstrate that crimes under international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed by all sides. Much more is needed than just a process of truth and reconciliation.
Violence particularly now targets supporters of Gbagbo. A journalist, who openly supported the Ivorian Popular Front of former President, Sylvain Gagnetaud, has been killed in a suburb of Abidjan, Reporters Without Borders said earlier this week. Gagnetaud was killed two weeks ago in Yopougon, where post-election violence between pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara forces was common, the group said in a statement posted on its website. The deputy editor and presenter at Radio Yopougon was arrested “during a sweep by pro-Ouattara forces through the Yopougon neighbourhood of Koweit on or around 8 May and was executed soon afterwards along with youths suspected of being militiamen, several different sources say,” the statement said. After Gbagbo’s arrest, Radio Yopougon was attacked and set afire on April 13, the reporters group said. “Gagnetaud had tried to flee Yopougon, where fierce fight was taking place,” it added. “Precise information about the circumstances of his arrest and death is not available.”
We are very disappointed to see that the situation continues to be very tense and delicate for many journalists and that reprisals are becoming more frequent. The ability of the security forces to shed light on Gagnetaud’s murder will be a test for the newly installed authorities. We urge the judicial system to identify and try those who were behind this journalist’s murder in order to end the impunity. We also call on President Ouattara’s government to keep its promises and to create the conditions for a free and independent press.
Reporters Without Borders