The top United Nations official in Côte d'Ivoire today strongly condemned two separate attacks against electoral authorities which occurred in the west of the country following this weekend’s legislative by-elections.
Bert Koenders, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of the UN peacekeeping operation (UNOCI) in the West African country, voiced concern in a press release in which he urged all political actors in the country “to avoid provoking incidents” and settle any conflicts “by peaceful means.”
On Sunday, unidentified armed individuals shot at a convoy from Côte d'Ivoire’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as it transported ballot boxes from the central-western town of Gobazra to Bonon. UNOCI peacekeepers who were escorting the convoy responded in a “robust and appropriate manner,” according to the press statement.
The peacekeepers were once again called into action a few hours later following another attack against an IEC office in Bonon.
Mr. Koenders also called on the local authorities “to do everything possible to clarify the circumstances” surrounding the attacks and to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
The weekend’s legislative by-elections were organized following a decision by the Constitutional Council to annul the results of elections held in December last year in certain constituencies after irregularities were uncovered.
The Constitutional Council received 107 complaints of irregularities from 66 constituencies. Eleven complaints were dismissed.
UNOCI deployed several other delegations to observe the conduct of the by-elections in various parts of the country.