Troops blamed for mass graves in Ivory Coast

 

Government forces in Ivory Coast have been accused by the United Nations of a spate of extra-judicial killings targeting supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo, including a 17-month old baby.

Mass graves have been discovered in an opposition neighbourhood of the business capital Abidjan. The UN mission recorded 26 killings, as well as rapes and illegal arrests in the past month. The reported reprisals will add to concerns that the internationally supported new leader, Alassane Ouattara, has broken promises over reconciliation in the deeply divided West African nation where a contested election led to civil war this year.

"The new government must avoid becoming drunk with power in the manner of its predecessors," said Gilles Yabi, from International Crisis Group. "There must be justice for all if there is to be no repeat of disasters of the last two decades."

Mr Ouattara, a former IMF economist, took power in April with the military backing of France and controversial air strikes by a UN peacekeeping force under the guise of protecting civilians. Mr Gbagbo, who refused to cede power after narrowly losing a presidential run-off against Mr Ouattara last November, was eventually battered into submission and dragged from his bunker.

The post-election fighting in Ivory Coast displaced hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are afraid to return to their homes because of the government-backed militias, according to Amnesty International. The rights watchdog said ethnic killings and abuses continued after President Ouattara came to power.

A number of leading figures from the Gbagbo regime are facing trial for alleged crimes committed while in power, but so far none of Mr Ouattara's backers has been arrested despite compelling evidence of human-rights abuses.

"The [UN] has documented 26 cases of extra-judicial killings, 85 arbitrary arrests and 11 cases of rape," said Guillaume Ngefa, the peacekeeping mission's human-rights officer. He said that eight mass graves had been uncovered in Youpougon, a Gbagbo stronghold in Abidjan.

On Thursday, Ivorian security forces arrested 57 soldiers from the former regime – all accused of war crimes committed against Ouattara supporters.

"The risk is that now they have the majority, they start to say that they don't need the rest of the country to rule," said Crisis Group's Gilles Yabi. "That would be a mistake: Ivory Coast needs an inclusive government and that means justice for all."

Much of Mr Ouattara's support comes from the north of the country in areas controlled by the rebel Forces Nouvelles. A four-month stand-off followed Mr Gbagbo's refusal to cede power before rebels allied to the election winner swept south.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones