NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations (UN) on Friday expressed its deep concern about reports that elements of the armed forces in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) have engaged in serious human rights violations in recent weeks.
Kenneth Blackman, a spokesman for the UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), said members of the armed forces are accused of carrying out rapes, acts of torture, armed robberies and other abuses in recent weeks. He gave no other details about the accusations.
Earlier this week, at least four people were killed and more than a dozen others were injured when elements of the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) clashed with locals in the southern town of Sikensi. It followed clashes between soldiers and residents in Vavouva earlier this month, leaving six people killed.
Blackman, however, noted that Ivorian authorities have taken additional steps to improve the security sector and to improve discipline within the FRCI. A military police unit has also been set up and a fund has been created to buy weapons, establish a reserve corps and renovate barracks and military camps.
Violence still occurs frequently in the West African nation, which was the scene of fierce post-election violence in late 2010 and early this year. At least 3,000 people were killed as part of the violence, which came as then-President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing a presidential run-off election to Alassane Ouattara.
Violence continued for months, but opposition forces eventually captured Gbagbo, 66, and transferred him to the International Criminal Court (ICC) detention center in The Hague in late November. He faces four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts.
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