Source: StarAfrica/ African Press Organisation
Within the framework of efforts by the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) to contribute to the security of Ivorians, UNOCI’s Force Commander, General Gnakoudé Béréna, conducted a mission to Daloa, Duékoué and Toulepleu on Tuesday 23 August to evaluate the security situation in the west, the mission’s interim spokesman, Kenneth Blackman, said on Thursday 25 August.
Speaking at the mission’s weekly press conference in Abidjan, he added that Gen. Béréna participated in working sessions between the impartial forces, the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI – French acronym), other representatives of the state, and dozos (traditional hunters). Issues discussed included UNOCI’s role in providing security to sites where internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been given shelter, collaboration between the forces on the ground and collaboration with the population.
Security challenges were also discussed, including the porous nature of the Côte d’Ivoire – Liberia border. “There are frequent, regular meetings between the UNMIL (UN mission in Liberia) force and UNOCI’s force. Security is being provided along the border. There are joint patrols that are conducted on either side of the border by the two forces,” Mr. Blackman said.
During the past one week, UNOCI’s military force conducted 1,371 land and air patrols throughout the country with a view to reassuring the population and contributing to its security. In the same period, the Force provided free medical care to 1,155 patients and distributed 24,500 litres of drinking water to the population.
Turning to the activities of other senior mission officials, Mr. Blackman recalled that the deputy special representatives of the UN Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Arnaud Akodjénou and N’Dolamb Ngokwey, were pursuing their discussions on the resolution of Côte d’Ivoire’s crisis with various components of the Ivorian nation and with the diplomatic corps.
Meanwhile, the mission continues its efforts to encourage the population to participate in creating a peaceful post-crisis environment throughout the country, M. Blackman announced.
He also stated that the Human Rights Division was keeping up its work to investigate and cross-check information on human rights violations. “In the period under review, there were three cases of summary executions blamed on the FRCI: in Sassandra, San Pedro and Yopougon-Yaossehi. Two FRCI elements implicated in the Sassandra killing were arrested. On the other hand, there has been no word on any arrests of suspects in connection with the executions in San Pedro and Yopougon », he said.
According to Mr. Blackman, with a view to putting an end to impunity, the Justice Minister had asked the Human Rights Division to inform him on all extrajudicial killings so that the appropriate authorities can take adequate measures. Pursuant to this request, “the Division provides the minister with such information”, the interim spokesman said.