Côte d'Ivoire

UN convoy attacked in Côte d'Ivoire

UN peacekeepers on patrol in the streets of Abidjan, 17 December 2010.
UN peacekeepers on patrol in the streets of Abidjan, 17 December 2010. Reuters/Luc Gnago

United Nations peacekeepers in Côte d’Ivoire were fired on in Abidjan, a UN spokesperson said on Thursday. The peacekeepers’ patrol was blocked by a hostile crowd in the Abobo district on Wednesday and was attacked by hidden gunmen. 


The patrol responded with warning shots. State media loyal to Laurent Gbagbo said civilians had been injured by the peacekeepers.

“The patrol did not fire on the crowd,” Hamadoun Toure, spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping force in Côte d’Ivoire told journalists.

Toure said a routine patrol was blocked by barricades which were then removed. After that a crowd surrounded the vehicles and the patrol received shots from a building. The peacekeepers then fired in the air to try to disperse people.

“We did not shoot into the crowd, just so that is clear,” Toure said.

Gbagbo-controlled state media showed images of two young men with fresh wounds. RTI television reported that they were civilians who had been injured by shots from the UN patrol.

Meanwhile the UN said on Thursday that the number of killings in Côte d’Ivoire resulting from the crisis have dropped this week.

Simon Munzu, head of human rights for the UN peacekeeping force in the country said they recorded six deaths during the past week, compared to 173 the week before.

Referring to the figures, Munzu said the “situation seems to be getting better” although he cautioned that these figures only concerned those killings that UN rights monitors were able to confirm.

The Red Cross on Thursday appealed for more than one million euros to help Ivorians fleeing the crisis.

Momodou Lamin Fye, regional chief of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told RFI that they need to respond to fleeing Ivoirians in Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and also internally in Cote d’Ivoire.

“In the short term we are working on sanitation and are looking at non-food items we are providing to the people who have moved from Ivory Coast into other countries,” said Lamin Fye.

He put the number displaced to other countries at about 15,100, but said it “may not be the whole picture”.



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