Search

 

Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire: Customs Agents Released

VZCZCXRO9315
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #1108 2771031
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041031Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1989
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0361
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1450

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 001108

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

KINSHASA PASS TO BRAZZAVILLE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EAIR PREL IV ECON ASEC
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: CUSTOMS AGENTS RELEASED
ON BAIL AFTER COMRADES WAGE 4-HOUR STRIKE

REF: A. ABIDJAN 1088 B. ABIDJAN 1004

1. (SBU) In the afternoon of October 3, 2006, three Customs
Agents who were arrested in connection with the toxic waste
pollution scandal on September 7 (reftel A) were released on
bail after a strike, threatened since September 26, commenced
on the morning of October 3.

2. (SBU) The strike, conducted by nearly 2000 customs
agents, lasted a mere four hours before authorities gave in
to demands and released the prisoners. On October 2,
President Gbagbo conducted talks with the leaders of the four
customs unions in the presence of the Junior Minister of
Finance, Charles Diby, Acting Customs Director General, Agnes
M ,lanhoro (the actual head of Customs, Colonel Major Gnamien
Konan, was suspended by PM Banny because of the toxic waste
scandal and the intense media circus surrounding the National
Assembly's investigation into the matter), and Tax Office
Director General, Lambert Feh KessQ. Despite the President's
intervention, customs unions officials publicly declared the
strike would begin the following day, (although the national
TV news broadcast cut off that portion of their statement,
leaving the impression that night the strike was settled).
On the morning of October 3, customs operations were halted
at the port, airport and land borders. Border crossings were
open as immigration police were still at work, but the
movement of goods was blocked, threatening the 3 billion CFA
($5.8 million) Cote d'Ivoire takes in daily through customs
revenue. By noon, however, strikers called off their action
following the government's decision to "provisionally"
release on bail the three customs officers.

3. (SBU) Background: On September 7, 2006, three customs
officers were arrested following the dumping of toxic waste
in several districts in the city of Abidjan (reftel B). The
customs officers, who work at the Vridi oil depots,
supervised the slops-removal operation from the ship &Probo
Koala, 8 which containing toxic waste. The customs unions
rejected responsibility for the illegal dumping, citing that
the request received from the disposal company &Tommy 8 made
no reference to the toxicity of the slops. On September 8,
2006, the customs unions waged a three-day strike action at
the Vridi oil depots, in protest of the arrest of their
colleagues. This strike was called off on September 12, 2006
following mediation by President Gbagbo. Two weeks later,
the unions threatened another unlimited strike if their
colleagues were not released on bail. On September 26, the
customs unions submitted to the customs management a general
strike notification starting on October 3, 2006.
Valle

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>