Gbagbo's minister wants UNOCI forces' movements halted

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - The Minister of Youth under Laurent Gbagbo and leader of the movement of Jeunes Patriotes, Charles Ble Goude, Friday urged his supporters to "organize themselves into groups" to prevent members of the UN operation forces in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) from moving about in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital.

Goude made the call during a rally attended by thousands of "young patriots" in the Yopougon neighborhood in Abidjan, controlled by Laurent Gbagbo, one of the two claimants to the Ivorian presidency.

He accused the UN mission of defending the interests of Gbagbo's opponent, Alassane Ouattara, acclaimed winner of the presidential election of 28 November by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Quattara has been in hiding in a hotel in Abidjan, under the protection of UNOCI forces and members of the Ouattara government.

"Today, it is not rebels who wage war on us, it is UNOCI," Goude alleged.

The Gbagbo government had Thursday, in a statement from the council of ministers, stoutly accused UNOCI of complicity with Ouattara's camp, to facilitate the infiltration of "rebels" into Abidjan.

A deep crisis ensued in Cote d'Ivoire following the second round of presidential election on 28 November, 2010, with incumbent Gbagbo and Ouattara, internationally acclaimed winner of the polls, claiming the presidency.

The African Union (AU), which has launched several mediation missions to the country to try to peacefully resolve the crisis, is expected in early March to deliver "binding" solutions to both camps.

The AU team is made up of presidents Idriss Deby of Chad, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso.

25 février 2011 18:14:31

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