Côte d'Ivoire: UN deplores attack against camp for internally displaced

Special Representative Bert Koenders (left) with UNOCI peacekeepers. UN Photo/Hien Macline

21 July 2012 – A United Nations top official today strongly condemned the attack carried out by some 300 individuals against a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Côte d'Ivoire, which resulted in seven deaths and injured 13 people.

The Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), Bert Koenders, called on the local and national authorities to “assume their responsibilities by making more effort to ensure, by all appropriate means, the security of the people and their possessions, with the required professionalism and while respecting human rights,” according to a statement issued by UNOCI.

The attack, which occurred in Nahibly, near the prefecture of Duékoué in the western part of the country on Friday, led to the displacement of more than 5,000 people who had already been forced to flee their homes following the violence of the post-electoral crisis of 2011.

UNOCI helped to evacuate the injured to a hospital in Duékoué where they are currently being treated. A large part of the camp was destroyed during the attack.

Mr. Koenders highlighted the gravity of the situation and expressed his sympathy to the victims. He also urged all the parties to “fully cooperate with the efforts being carried out to end the suffering imposed on the vulnerable population in the west of Côte d'Ivoire.”

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. Since the attack, UNOCI has deployed additional soldiers and police officers to support the efforts of the Ivorian authorities.

Other UN agencies have also provided assistance to people who managed to find refuge in temporary structures. The office for the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and their partners in the region provided temporary shelter for more than 4,000 people as well as water tanks, rice, oil, energy biscuits and other food items.

Mr. Koenders welcomed the participation of the traditional, community and religious authorities in initiatives to defuse inter-community tensions, and encouraged their continuation. He also said he would like to see the involvement of political forces, in an effort to create a peaceful environment in this region.

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