Security Council voices outrage at deadly shelling of Ivorian market

21 March 2011

The Security Council has expressed its indignation at the deadly shelling of a market in Côte d’Ivoire’s commercial capital and warned that it will punish anyone who obstructs the resolution of the country’s prolonged post-election crisis.

As many as 30 unarmed civilians were killed and 60 others were injured when the market in the Abobo neighbourhood of the city of Abidjan was attacked on Thursday, according to the UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (known as UNOCI).

The shelling was allegedly carried out by elements of the Ivorian Defense and security forces (FDSCI), which are loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo, who lost a UN-certified and internationally recognized election to the opposition figure Alassane Ouattara last November but has since refused to step down. Abobo is considered a stronghold of supporters of Mr. Ouattara.

Speaking to the press on Friday night, Ambassador Wang Min of China, which holds the Council presidency this month, stressed that such attacks as the shelling of the market will not go unpunished and the perpetrators must be held accountable.

“The members of the Security Council reiterate their deep concern about the continuing post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire and its negative humanitarian consequences on the civilian population, including refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs),” he said.

Mr. Wang warned that Council members were determined “to impose measures, including targeted sanctions, against those who impede the peaceful resolution of the crisis, obstruct the work of UNOCI and other international actors in Côte d’Ivoire or commit violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”

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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UN warns deadly shelling of Ivorian market may be crime against humanity

United Nations officials today intensified their condemnation of an attack yesterday by forces allied to Côte d’Ivoire’s defeated president on a market that killed 25 to 30 people and wounded dozens more, with the Organization’s human rights office warning that it could be a crime against humanity.