Friday, April 8, 2011

Côte d'Ivoire: Duékoué, the shock of a major massacre

On 1 April, a brief statement of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated: "At least 800 people were killed March 29 during communal violence in the Carrefour district of the city of Duekoue, in western country. " Since early December, and the refusal of the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to recognize the victory in the presidential election of his rival Alassane Ouattara - victory recognized by the international community - the violent clashes between the two sides have claimed many victims.

But never an NGO had alerted on the execution of so many people in so few days, justifying the use of the terrible word "massacre". "The ICRC does not release this kind of lightly, it is very rare that we give figures. If we're talking at least 800 victims, because we were Duékoué March 31 and April 1, and it is our teams that have picked up the body, either in homes or outdoors, to bury them in dignity.

So we counted, "said Steven Anderson, a spokesman for the ICRC , creating order in the balance disparate, ranging from a hundred deaths to more than a thousand, distributed by NGOs and the UN since Saturday. "We are facing an exceptional case and a particularly shocking," he adds. A fear shared by all humanitarians who have knowledge of the facts.

"If it is indeed, as is now becoming clearer, summary executions committed by weight in just two days, Tuesday 29 and Wednesday, March 30, it is really in front of a large-scale massacre. Our different sources on the ground have counted 816 dead so far. But we continue to find bodies, "said Florent Geel, Head Africa to the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).

"This is not the 5000 deaths per day in the Rwandan conflict, but it's really important. To give you an idea, the massacre of the stadium in Conakry, Guinea, which shocked the world by 2009, triggered an investigation and caused the political transition is 157 dead, "he says. If the information is still patchy and callers very cautious in the information they distill, because of the extreme tension that still exists in this region of Cote d'Ivoire prone to inter-ethnic conflict, all sources s' attach to the fact that most victims are male.

Men and boys as young as three to five years. Which confirms the story of survivors who recount how the executioners were sorting, separating men from women. Some victims were shot dead, others with machetes, beaten or burned. The majority belong to ethnic Guere, but not all. Terrorized by the violence of the massacres committed under their eyes sometimes, and the fear that there may be others, survivors and most people in the area have fled their homes and neighborhoods to join together in a Catholic mission , Duékoué.

"It's a place that must be 800 meters long and 800 meters wide, where 30,000 people are crammed into unsanitary conditions terrible", is concerned about place François Danel, Executive Director of the NGO Action against hunger. A situation which he itemized in a video filmed by and for the NGO, April 3.

The day after the release of the ICRC, and contrary to all NGOs that have refused to clearly designate a person responsible for the massacre, the UN mission in Cote d'Ivoire said that "most" of the victims had been "executed by 'dozos [traditional hunters of the North] FRCI of [Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire], "pro-Ouattara.

"We must be careful not to read everything through the post-election conflict. Duekoue region has already experienced the massacres in 2005, is a region prone to ethnic conflict for a very long time. We need to decouple the local issues the national issue, "cautioned Francois Danel. FIDH recalls and several officials including a possible "road cutter," the head of an armed gang in a national park located next to Duékoué that it remains to prove that he acted on behalf of FRCI.

Thursday, humanitarian, cautious, calling for an independent investigation into their wishes, betting that the situation in the region, would take time to relax, and the survivors to return home. Read "An impartial investigation of the killings on the ICC is needed," interview with Florent Geel, the International Federation of Human Rights.

Aline Leclerc

No comments:

Post a Comment