UN Chief warns Gbagbo camp not to storm Ouattara HQ
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday warned followers of Côte d’Ivoire incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo not to attack the headquarters of rival Alassane Ouattara’s internationally recognised government.
Ban stressed that UN peacekeeping troops are "authorised to use all necessary means to protect" UN staff, the government and civilians at the headquarters, spokesperson Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
Around 800 Unoci troops surround the Golf Hotel in Abidjan where Alassane Ouattara, the UN recognised president, is currently operating from.
On Wednesday one of Gbagbo's lieutenants Charles Blé Goudé urged followers to storm the hotel on Saturday.
Ban was "deeply alarmed" by Ble Goude's call on Gbagbo's youth group to attack the hotel reaffirmed warnings that any attack on peacekeepers is a crime under international law, for which action will be taken.
"Any attack on the Golf Hotel could provoke widespread violence that could reignite civil war," the secretary general said, warning against such "dangerous irresponsible action".
Meanwhile, a UN peacekeeping department spokesman said the organisation’s human rights monitoring team had been blocked from getting to a village suspected of containing a mass grave.
New reports of armed groups blocking the road to Anyama came as a UN envoy on the prevention of genocide raised new concerns about events in the West African nation.
Ouattara was initially declared the winner of the 28 November election but his victory was overturned by the Constitutional Council, which is led by an ally of Gbagbo. The international community has however recognised Ouattara as the victor, but Gbagbo refuses to stand down.
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