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Death toll in Ivorian post-election violence surpassed 1,000 – UN

Death toll in Ivorian post-election violence surpassed 1,000 – UN

Displaced people seeking safety and assistance at a Catholic mission in Duékoué, Côte d’Ivoire
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) reported today that post-election violence that began last December had killed more than 1,000 people in the western part of the country before it came to an end last month.

According to a report presented today in Abidjan, 103 of the 1,012 slain persons were women and 42 were children.

Guillaume Ngefa, the interim head of UNOCI’s Human Rights Division, said the tally was the result of an investigation by a team of UN experts covering the period from December 2010 to April 2011. At least 505 of the victims were killed in western city of Duékoué, he said.

The violence erupted last December when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after he lost the UN-certified presidential run-off election in November to Alassane Ouattara. Mr. Ouattara was sworn in earlier this month after Mr. Gbagbo surrendered in April.

Mr. Ngefa said the UN report cited several human rights violations linked to clashes between the Defence and Security Forces (FDS), militias and mercenaries, on the one hand, and the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) and traditional hunters, on the other.

“Certain civilians also committed acts of looting and reprisals,” Mr. Ngefa added.

Earlier this month, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that despite the end of the post-electoral crisis, the humanitarian situation in Côte d’Ivoire remained “alarming” for tens of thousands of civilians.