Côte d'Ivoire - France

Kidnapped foreigners killed in Côte d'Ivoire presidential palace

AFP/Sia Kambou

Four foreigners, including two French men, kidnapped during post-electoral violence in Côte d’Ivoire were killed by a police commissioner loyal to outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo in the presidential palace, officials announced Tuesday.

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The four, who were grabbed at the Abidjan Novotel on 4 April as Gbagbo’s supporters clashed with those of current President Alassane Ouattara, were tortured and beaten before being executed, according to Justice Minister Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou.

Their bodies were then wrapped in black plastic bags “of the kind used to package bananas” and “thrown in the lagoon”, he told a press conference.

Their remains were found near the naval base, officials say.

The police commissioner in question, four pro-Gbagbo militiamen plus an officer and two other members of the Republican Guard have been charged with involvement in the murder, the minister said.

The four kidnapped men were:

  • Novotel director Stéphane Frantz di Rippel, French citizen;
  • Yves Lambelin, chairman of Sifca, Côte d'Ivoire’s largest private company, French citizen;
  • Raoul Adeossi, Lambelin’s assistant, Beninois citizen ;
  • Chelliah Pandian, managing director of Sifca subsidiary, Sania, Malaysian citizen.
     

International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is to visit Côte d’Ivoire from 27 June to 4 July with a view to opening an inquiry into the violence which followed last year’s presidential election, Ahoussou announced.

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