Wednesday, December 22, 2010

AFRICA: IVORY COAST: 9 UNARMED PROTESTERS KILLED

CISA REPORT -Eyewitnesses have told Human Rights Amnesty International that at least nine unarmed protesters were killed on December 16 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast during mass protests over a political deadlock following presidential elections.

The demonstrators had joined a mass street protests called by the internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara following disputed elections. They were marching from various locations in the capital Abidjan in an attempt to seize the state broadcaster Radio Télévision Ivorienne (RTI) when security forces opened fire at point blank range.

“Amnesty International is appalled by this completely unjustified and disproportionate use of force and calls on the Ivorian security forces to stop these killings immediately,” said Salvatore Saguès, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher.

“Those who opened fire on these people, as well as those who gave the order, will have to account for their acts,” Saguès declared.

On December 14, Allassane Ouattara called for mass street protests to seize the state broadcaster and government buildings, still held by officials loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to leave office.

Eyewitnesses participating in the protests told Amnesty International that at least nine people had been killed at two locations in Abidjan.

“Every effort must be made to prevent an escalation of violence. There is a very real threat that many more lives will be lost if the security forces continue to shoot at protesters indiscriminately,” said Saguès.

He said, “Côte d’Ivoire has never been so close to a resumption of civil war. Every effort must be done to prevent further escalation of violence that could have a huge impact on the country and on the whole sub-region pushing thousands of people to flee the country.”

Tensions have been rising in the country ever since both candidates declared themselves president and set up respective governments following the November 28 vote.

In an interview with the France 24 news channel the International Criminal Courts (ICC) Chief Prosecutor, Louis Moreno-Ocampo said he would prosecute those responsible if deadly violence breaks out in Ivory Coast after its disputed election.

http://www.cisanewsafrica.org/news.php?id=5004

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