Issuing a plea for calm in strife torn Côte d’Ivoire today, the United Nations Operation in that country (UNOCI) condemned “in the strongest terms” the desecration of the tomb of the mother of a major opposition leader.
The tomb of the Hadja Nabintou Cissé, mother of the Rally of Republicans (RDR) party leader Alassane Ouattara, was attacked sometime between last night and this morning.
The two-year-old crisis in that country, which despite peace accords continues with half the national territory under rebel control, began after groups said President Laurent Gbagbo’s re-election in 2000 was not legitimate because Mr. Ouattara had been barred from taking part. An unsuccessful coup ensued.
Mr. Ouattara's Ivoirian nationality had been questioned during the election, but the justice system has since ruled in his favour.
In its statement today, UNOCI said it stands ready to assist any investigations launched by the Ivorian authorities in order to identify and arrest the perpetrators of the desecration with a view to putting them on trial in accordance with the law.
UNOCI called on all parties to maintain calm and serenity in the face of the incident, appealing to them not to be deterred from the national peace and reconciliation process.