Panafrican News Agency

Rights group demands investigations into killings in Cote d'Ivoire since presidential vote

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - Amnesty International is asking the authorities in Côte d’Ivoire to investigate the killing of dozens of people with rifles, guns and machetes since the presidential election. 

The human rights advocate said eyewitnesses it interviewed described post-election violence scenes which took place amid intensifying clashes between opposition and ruling party supporters since 31 October. 

"In some instances, security forces were overwhelmed failing to prevent violence from both sides," it said in a statement on Monday.

“We are urging the Ivorian authorities to investigate the bloody violence and bring perpetrators to justice. The impunity that has long reigned in Côte d’Ivoire provides fertile ground for people to commit killings and other human rights violations with no fear of being held to account,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International West and Central Africa Director.

“This is the second time in a decade that elections in Cote D’Ivoire have been marred by violence. The authorities must urgently take measures to protect lives and send a clear message that killings will not go unpunished.”

Violence erupted in several towns in Côte d’Ivoire in the lead up to the presidential election and has continued following the vote. According to the National Human Rights Council, the violence led to 55 deaths between 31 October and 10 November, and 282 people were injured.

Amnesty International said there have also been dozens of arrests of opposition party members, including opposition leader Pascal Affi N’Guessan who has been in detention since the evening between 6 and 7 November.

The statement said last week, violence escalated in the central region of Côte d’Ivoire, including in the towns of Mbatto, Elibou and Daoukro.

“The growing crackdown on opposition leaders and government critics is an attack on human rights. Authorities must stop restricting the right to freedom of movement of people inside the residence of opposition leaders by removing security forces surrounding them,” said Daoud.

“They must immediately and unconditionally release Pascal Affi N’Guessan, and all those detained simply for exercising their human rights. They must commit to creating a space where people can freely express their opinions and peacefully protest without fear of being arrested, assaulted or killed.”

-0- PANA MA 17Nov2020