UN’s Ivory Coast mission to probe reported abuses

A UN peacekeeker stands guard outside the headquarters for internationally recognized winner of the Ivorian presidential election Alassane Ouattara.

A U.N. investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Ivory Coast will be fruitless without the cooperation of authorities loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, an official in his administration said yesterday.

The country was plunged into crisis when Gbagbo refused to step down after a disputed election in November, leading to an outbreak of violence.

The electoral commission, world leaders and the U.N. General Assembly have recognized Gbagbo’s rival Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the election.

Ouattara’s supporters say they are being hunted down and killed or kidnapped by pro-Gbagbo forces. The U.N. has put the death toll at more than 170.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast, known as UNOCI, said last month pro-Gbagbo forces were blocking access to what could be a mass grave near Abidjan.

“UNOCI had been instructed to do everything possible to gain access to the affected areas … to investigate and record the violations so that those responsible will be held accountable,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.


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