Ghana has “contingency plan” to evacuate nationals from Cote d'Ivoire

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - The Ghana government says it has contingency plans to evacuate its nationals from Cot d'Ivoire, its troubled western neighbour, that has been thrown into turmoil following a controversial election claimed by two candidates.

Deputy Minister for Information, James Agyenim-Boateng, said on Thursday in Accra the government was closely monitoring the situation and would act before the crisis got out of hand.

He said: “There’s a detailed plan which has been done and as at when it becomes necessary to evacuate our citizens from that jurisdiction, we’ll just have to activate that plan.”

Incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and veteran opposition leader Alassane Ouattara have both claimed the presidency and have announced rival governments.

Whereas the international community has recognised Ouattara as the winner based on results declared by the independent electoral commission, Gbagbo was declared winner by the constitutional council.

Calls by the Economic Community of West African States, United Nations, African Union and the European Union for Gbagbo to quit have fallen on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, as the stand-off continues, UN human rights officers in Cote d’Ivoire have confirmed allegations of more than 170 killings, hundreds of arrests and dozens of cases of torture, ill treatment and enforced disappearance of people over the past one week, a senior UN rights official said on Thursday.

"Between 16 and 21 December, human rights officers have substantiated allegations of 173 killings, 90 instances of torture and ill treatment, 471 arrests and detentions and 24 cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances,” Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

Kang spoke at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to discuss the situation in Cote d’Ivoire.

She, however, said it had not been possible to investigate all the allegations of serious human rights violations, including reports of mass graves, due to movement restrictions imposed on UN personnel.

"Indeed, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Young J. Choi was stopped at gunpoint, as he sought to verify such allegations,” she claimed.

The UN official called for the immediate lifting of restrictions imposed by security forces and youth groups loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, saying such infringements on freedom of movement had also hindered the capacity of the UN to deliver much-needed services and humanitarian assistance.
-0- PANA MA 23Dec2010

23 december 2010 22:49:43

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