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Cote D’ivoire: 13 Tortured People Die In Detention


UN Mission In Cote D’ivoire Calls For Probe Into Deaths Of 13 People From Torture

The United Nations mission in Côte d’Ivoire has called for an inquiry into the deaths of 13 people from torture and ill treatment during their detention by forest guards of Marahoué National Park at a prison in Bouaflé, north of the capital Yamoussoukro.

Implementing a Government directive that people illegally occupying the park be forcefully evicted, forest guards last month arrested villagers on the charge that they were trespassing, the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) said. Some of the arrested were subjected to torture and inhuman treatment, and in some cases forced to pay over $200 to secure their freedom.

Following these alarming reports, UNOCI sent a mission to evaluate the situation, listing 32 people who had been brought before judicial authorities in connection with the case. It also noted that the ill treatment and torture resulted in the death of 12 people in the prison on 22 February and another at a hospital on 27 February.

While taking note of the efforts of the Government of National Reconciliation to bring an end to impunity, UNOCI said it deplored the events and demanded an inquiry to establish the circumstances that led to the deaths and the identification those responsible for these serious acts.

UNOCI was set up last year to facilitate implementation of the 2003 peace accord between Government and rebel forces that is to lead to free, fair and transparent elections in the West African country.

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