An attack by unidentified gunmen in Côte d’Ivoire has left four people dead and the presence of United Nations peacekeepers in the area of the attack has been increased, a UN spokesperson said today.
UN peacekeeper presence increased following attack on Côte d’Ivoire military checkpoint
Addressing a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, the spokesperson said that unidentified gunmen opened fire from a vehicle at an Ivorian armed forces checkpoint in the village of Iribo, 90 kilometres from Abidjan, on 25 August. One Ivorian soldier, two attackers and one civilian were killed in the ensuing gun battle.
The incident comes in the wake of the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2062, in July 2012, in which it requested that the peacekeeping operation in the country – the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) – reduce its military presence by the equivalent of one battalion.
However, the recent outburst of violence has prompted the UN to examine the mission’s deployment in the country, the spokesperson told reporters.
“UNOCI and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations are carefully re-assessing current threats and risks and operational requirements,” the spokesperson said, adding that “based on this assessment, the UN Mission will develop a plan for the responsible reduction of its uniformed personnel to ensure that it can respond to the evolving situation and effectively implement its mandate.”
This latest incident follows a series of recent attacks against military bases and installations in the country which have caused numerous casualties.
On 5 August, an unidentified armed group attacked the military camp of the Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (known by the French acronym FRCI) in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Akouédo around 3:30 a.m. The attack left seven soldiers from the national army dead and seriously injured another dozen troops. The group reportedly took arms and ammunition from the armoury before leaving the camp.
The other attacks targeted a police station and a checkpoint in Yopougon, Abidjan, and an FRCI camp in Abengourou, in the east of the country. There were reportedly no casualties in Abengourou, but five FRCI elements were reportedly killed in the checkpoint attack in Yopougon.
UNOCI was established in 2004 by the Security Council to facilitate the peace process in the country, which was split by civil war in 2002 into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south.
In the aftermath of the post-election violence that followed the 2010 presidential polls, the peacekeeping mission is assisting the West African country with a number of key tasks, including the restoration of law and order, national reconciliation, the holding of legislative elections, and economic recovery.