Ouattara forces commit abuses - report

2011-04-10 22:17

kalahari.com

Duekoue - Forces loyal to Ivory Coast's democratically elected president killed hundreds of civilians, raped his rival's supporters and burned villages during an offensive launched in the country's west, a human rights group said.

Human Rights Watch called on Alassane Ouattara to investigate and prosecute abuses by his forces and those supporting his rival, strongman Laurent Gbagbo.

The group also said that forces loyal to Gbagbo killed more than 100 civilians to retaliate against pro-Ouattara fighters who launched a major offensive advancing toward Abidjan.

Gbagbo is holed up in a bunker in his residence in Abidjan. After a decade in power, he still refuses to step aside even though the United Nations has ruled that he lost the November presidential election to Ouattara.

After four months of diplomacy, Ouattara gave the go-ahead for a military intervention led by fighters from a former rebel group. They swept across the country, advancing hundreds of kilometres and taking dozens of cities in a matter of days before being held up at the door of Abidjan, Ivory Coast's biggest and most strategically important city.

The United Nations on Sunday said that the Golf Hotel in Abidjan where Ouattara is based came under attack late Saturday and one peace keeper was injured.

UN spokesperson Hamadoun Toure said that rockets and mortars landed on the hotel grounds shortly after UN forces came under attack nearby on Saturday evening. One peace keeper was evacuated to hospital with serious injuries, he said.

Massere Toure, a communications adviser for Ouattara, said that a patrol sent out from the hotel was also ambushed on Saturday afternoon by forces loyal to former president Gbagbo. 

More going on

Gbagbo's forces broke out of the presidential compound on Saturday and advanced into position in the down town core and near the Golf Hotel.

But the human rights group warned there is more going on outside Abidjan.

"While the international community has been focused on the political stalemate in Abidjan over the presidency, forces on both sides have committed numerous atrocities against civilians, their leaders showing little interest in reining them in," said Daniel Bekele, Human Rights Watch Africa director in the report obtained by The Associated Press late on Saturday.

People interviewed by the group described how pro-Ouattara forces "summarily executed and raped perceived Gbagbo supporters in their homes, as they worked in the fields, as they fled, or as they tried to hide in the bush".

The report said that many of the abuses occurred from March 6 to March 30, as villages in the west including Toulepleu, Doke, Blolequin, Duekoue and Guiglo fell to pro-Ouattara forces.

The UN said peace keepers and human rights officials discovered about 60 bodies in the western town of Guiglo. The UN human rights agency said another 40 corpses were found lying the street in Blolequin, and many of them had been shot.

Fifteen other bodies were found in Duekoue, where violence already has left at least 229 dead in recent weeks.

The report said that many were targeted for their ethnicity and Ouattara's Republican forces have killed, raped, and pillaged the predominantly Guere population, who largely supported Gbagbo in the election. Abuses continued through March, culminating in the massacre of hundreds in Douekoue on March 29, the report said.

Mission refuge

On Sunday, rebels at roadblocks in Carrefour were armed with AK-47's, shotguns, hunting rifles and knives. They stood across from the charred shells of former homes.

Thousands of people gathered at the Roman Catholic Mission of St Theresa of the Baby Jesus, which has become a refuge for 30 000 people. Rice was being distributed and Medecins Sans Frontieres had set up a clinic.

Ouattara had long tried to distance himself from the northern-based fighters taking up his cause who fought in a brief civil war almost a decade ago that left the country split in two. Those fighters were accused of many atrocities at the time. But he appeared to change tack as the rebel fighters, which he renamed the "Republican Forces", began their lightning assault on Abidjan.

In recent weeks, a pro-Gbagbo militia had also been targeting Ouattara supporters, refugees told the AP.

On March 28, pro-Gbagbo forces massacred more than 100 people in Blolequin, and killed 10 more northerners and West African immigrants in the town of Guiglo, the group said.

"To understand the tragic events in Ivory Coast, a line cannot be drawn between north and south, or supporters of Gbagbo and Ouattara," Bekele said.

"Unfortunately, there are those on both sides who have shown little regard for the dignity of human life."

In the report, Human Rights Watch called on Ouattara to "take decisive measures to address serious violations of international law by all forces, prevent further reprisals and acts of collective punishment, and urgently investigate and prosecute all those responsible for abuses."

More than a million people have fled their homes since the November elections, with some 130 000 cross the border to Liberia.

- AP

Read more on:    msf  |  un  |  human rights watch  |  alassane ouattara  |  laurent gbagbo  |  ivory coast  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Kasrils enemy of the people - MKMVA

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils is an "enemy of the people" with his "No Vote" campaign, the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.