Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blue Helmets respond to attack on stronghold Ouattara

.- The Blue Helmets that protect the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, the headquarters of the elected president Alassane Ouattara, responded on Saturday to attack by the forces of outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo, said the UN mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI). "The Golf Hotel was attacked with mortars from across the pond (south of the hotel) and from the residence of President Gbagbo," said Hamadoun Toure, spokesman for UNOCI.

"The Blue Helmets respondents pointed to where the shots came from across the pond. Voluntarily avoid the residence of President Gbagbo," added the spokesman. Gbagbo's government denied the attack and denounced a "coup invented" by preparing a new "attack" against UN and French forces Gbagbo.

"President Gbagbo called for resistance against the bombing and military maneuvers of the French in Ivory Coast, because it is truly the French army that attacked us," added the spokesman of his government, Ahoua Don Mello. The UN and French Licorne forces were present Saturday at the strategic port of Abidjan after the lifting of European sanctions, while commercial flights resumed at the airport in the capital, amid persistent insecurity.

"We participate in the resumption of economic activity, particularly in the port, and we are in relation to local authorities. The impartial forces (UNOCI mission and French Licorne force) are present in the port, "said a French source. These forces" working with the Ivorian port services.

There was a resumption of contact this morning with the port authorities, as part of the reopening "coming from it. Important stocks of cocoa, the main source of foreign exchange, world's largest producer, have been waiting for weeks to leave for export. Moreover resumed commercial flights at the airport in Abidjan on Saturday morning, told AFP a French military source Licorne force.

The European Union announced Friday that lifted the sanctions in force against the two major ports Ivory Coast, Abidjan and San Pedro, and against several companies involved in the cocoa sector, with the intention of supporting the side of Alassane Ouattara, recognized by the international community.

On Saturday morning did not hear any shots in the neighborhood of Cocody, about the presidential residence, where Gbagbo, or in the Plateau district, home to the presidential palace, said residents. Gbagbo's men also control the presidential palace in the Plateau district, located in the center city.

The troops are still fighting the outgoing president in the bastions that have been preserved in Abidjan, where they enjoy some mobility, according to testimonies matched. In the city there is a clear division between areas controlled by pro-Gbagbo and Ouattara pro. "It is clear that Gbagbo's attempts to negotiate this week were nothing more than a ploy to regroup and rearm," he said in Washington the State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

Alassane Ouattara troops trying to secure the rest of the economic capital, which suffers from serious food situation. The political impasse that is the country after the presidential election on November 28 joins the grave humanitarian situation in Abidjan. In the West, controlled by forces loyal to Ouattara and where several humanitarian organizations reported killings of hundreds of people, information gathered by the UN's human rights are "absolutely horrific", said in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Rights Human, Navi Pillay.

"Only yesterday (Thursday), they found 119 bodies in the cities of Duekué, Bloléquin and Guiglo in the west of the country," Pillay said in a statement Friday. "Some victims were burned alive appeared," said his spokesman. This Saturday, the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it had new evidence of atrocities in the west of the country both pro forces and by the pro Ouattara Gbagbo.

Forces loyal to Ouattara killed or raped people and burned hundreds of villages in late March in the area of the country, HRW said in a report published in New York. The NGOs defending human rights also accuses the forces of Laurent Gbagbo of having committed a slaughter in Bloléquin, March 28, more than a hundred men, women and children from the north of Côte d'Ivoire and neighboring countries.

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