9 August 2012

Cote d'Ivoire: Desperation After Last IDP Refuge Razed

Duekoue — On the morning of 20 July, after an attack that killed four people around Duékoué, a town in Côte d'Ivoire's turbulent west, a huge crowd surrounded the nearby Nahibly camp hosting 5,000 internally displaced people (IDPs).

In what has been described as an ethnically driven revenge attack, the mob of between 500 and 1,000 people said to be of armed Malinké men, backed by traditional hunters known as Dozos, stormed the camp and torched it, killing six people and injuring dozens of others. The site was the last remaining IDP camp in Côte d'Ivoire following the 2010-11 election unrest.

Aftermath of the attack

The camp, now empty, hosted mainly Guéré people and supporters of former leader Laurent Gbagbo, who was locked in a bitter dispute after the November 2010 polls with opponent and now President Alassane Ouattara. The Malinkés are seen as Ouattara supporters.

Tension remains high in western Côte d'Ivoire, where land disputes have also triggered clashes.

Many of the displaced people from Nahibly sought refuge at the Catholic mission in Duékoué, the town hall and in the surrounding thicket before returning to their nearby places of origin, which are still largely in ruins. Continued insecurity is making resettlement there difficult.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

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