Côte d’Ivoire: UN humanitarian officer calls for protection of civilians following attacks

11 December 2006

A senior United Nations humanitarian official in Côte d’Ivoire has called upon national and local authorities to assure the protection of civilians and the security of relief workers in the wake of recent attacks in the western part of the divided West African country.

Acting Humanitarian Coordinator Youssouf Oomar said he would lead a joint inter-agency evaluation mission to the affected areas at the end of the week.

In his latest report on the country, issued last week, Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned the political leadership not to delay restarting the stalled peace process and resolving their disputes now that the Security Council has extended the transitional government for a final year.

Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producer, has been split in two between the Government-controlled south and the rebel-held north since 2002.

The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), established by the Council after the two sides reached a ceasefire, has more than 9,000 military or police personnel in place to maintain peace, but there have been sporadic outbursts of violence over the years. Mr. Annan recommended that its mandate be extended for another year until 15 December 2007.


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