UN fears “crimes against humanity” in Ivory Coast

The shelling of a market in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on March 17, which killed at least 25 people and wounded 40, may be a crime against humanity, the United Nations says. The UN blamed forces loyal to the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to cede power set off the crisis. The market was in the suburb of Abobo, a stronghold of Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of the Nov. 28 presidential race. “Such an act, perpetrated against civilians, could constitute a crime against humanity,” the UN said in a statement. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the Security Council to “take further measures with regard to the Ivorian individuals who are instigating, orchestrating and committing the violence.”

Gbagbo denied his forces were responsible for the attack, but called on the population to “fight the rebels.” Said Ahoua Don Mello, spokesman for Gbagbo’s government: “Rebels are hidden in the civilian society, so we ask the people to collaborate with us, and let us inform so as to locate the rebels whom we consider terrorists.” (AP, Bloomberg, March 18)

See our last posts on the Ivory Coast, West Africa and the regional revolutions.

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