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Abidjan hits back at UN blame of military over killings
by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) Aug 12, 2011

Ivory Coast's government said Friday it felt "wronged" by a UN report blaming fighters loyal to President Alassane Ouattara for extrajudicial killings, and said it had launched its own probe.

The UN's Ivory Coast mission on Thursday reported 26 cases of "extrajudicial execution" between July 11 and August 10, mostly blamed on members of the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI).

"We have no detailed observation to make since the government has ordered its own inquiries to establish, without any doubt, whether these findings are true or not and find those responsible so that they can be brought to justice," Ivory Coast's Minister of Human Rights Gnenema Coulibaly told a press conference.

"It is legitimate for the Ivorian government to feel wronged by these accusations that are coming from all over, especially when these reports indicate that it is the FRCI" to blame.

"At the end of this situation of armed conflict, wearing army gear is not a sign of belonging to the FRCI," Coulibaly said.

He added that measures were being taken "to make army officers improve their behaviour", and "a bit of time" was needed.

The FRCI helped Ouattara take power in May after an election dispute with ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down after losing a vote in November.

Gbagbo's position led to a four-month conflict in which 3,000 people are estimated to have been killed and both sides were accused of serious abuses.

It ended when the FRCI, backed by French forces, arrested Gbagbo on April 11, also rounding up dozens of his supporters who remain under house arrest.

FRCI troops are regularly accused of abuses, execution, violence and looting.

The group comprises mainly former rebel fighters from the Muslim-dominated north who were behind a failed 2002 uprising against Gbagbo, who had his support in the popular mostly Christian south.

They are now being integrated into a new post-conflict army, called the Republican Forces, that will also include troops from the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) army that backed Gbagbo.

Regarding the discovery of eight communal graves reported by the UN mission, Coulibaly said the bodies were "not all victims of the FRCI".

Gbagbo, who has been held in the northern city of Korhogo since his arrest on April 11, had "very good prison conditions", the minister added, in response to concerns from the UN.

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Ivory Coast charges 62 pro-Gbagbo army officers
Abidjan (AFP) Aug 11, 2011
Ivory Coast has charged 62 army officers close to ousted president Laurent Gbagbo and is holding 40 of them in custody, a military justice official said Thursday. Ange Kessi, the west African country's military prosecutor, told AFP that 62 army officers from Gbagbo's regime were charged over crimes committed during the crisis that erupted after November polls when Gbagbo refused to concede d ... read more

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