civil unrest in Ivory Coast

The unrest across the Ivory Coast following the elections shows no sign of abating. As Amnesty reported at least nine unarmed protestors were shot dead by security forces.

The Guardian reports how Alassane Ouattara’s supporters intend to seize state buildings and state television in Abidjan while the BBC reports how head of the African Union Commission Jean Ping has flown into the country to try to mediate between the warring sides

According to the Financial Times, a spokeswoman for Laurent Gbagbo’s government said on state television that 20 people had been killed – 10 demonstrators and 10 security forces. However, a statement from Mr Ouattara’s rival government said 14 protesters were killed by security forces, but did not give a figure for any other deaths.

The second round of Ivory Coast’s presidential election has been postponed five times since 2005.

Many had hoped the election would put an end to the crisis which began when the armed uprising of September 2002 split the country in two. But following the 28 November 2010 vote, both candidates declared themselves president and set up respective governments. Tensions have been rising in the country ever since.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, had suggested on French television earlier this week that he would prosecute those responsible if deadly violence breaks out in Ivory Coast after its disputed election.

As Amnesty’s West Africa Researcher Salvatore Sagues said, the Ivory Coast has never been so close to a resumption of civil war. Every effort must be made 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.

Here at Amnesty we’ll continue to monitor the situation closely. 

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