8 November 2012

Cote d'Ivoire: Confidential Military Files Stolen in Media Office Raid

press release

The head office of the Ivorian media group Nord Sud Communication, publishers of the pro-government daily Nord-Sud, was burgled in the early hours of 7 November 2012. Five men in civilian clothes, armed with assault rifles, arrived in two vehicles - a four-by-four and a saloon. They scaled the perimeter wall and forced the doors of the building.

Nord-Sud is close to the former prime minister Guillaume Soro, now speaker of the National Assembly and, in common with most Ivorian newspapers, often expresses highly partisan views.

"We are concerned by the repeated attacks on the offices of news organizations in Côte d'Ivoire," Reporters Without Borders said. "After the arson attack on the Cyclone group (which publishes Le Temps, Lg Infos and Prestige Magazine), Nord Sud Communication has now been the target of a night-time raid.

"We are surprised that the Abidjan authorities have still not said anything about the attack on Cyclone in August and we hope that every effort will be made to identify those behind this latest criminal act. The way it was carried out shows the burglars knew exactly what they were looking for."

The intruders, armed with AK-47s, climbed over the wall surrounding the Nord Sud Communication building in the Deux Plateaux district of Abidjan's Cocody commune. They made straight for the office of the investigative journalist Bahi K, who specialises in security and defence issues.

They removed the hard disk from his computer, on which he had stored highly confidential military files. They smashed open the door of the newsroom but took nothing. The security guard on duty fled. The burglars then entered the offices of the sales and accounts departments, taking 150,000 CFA francs (approx. 230 euros).

The police arrived on the scene later to compile a report and an investigation was opened by the local police station, where the company's management registered a complaint against persons unknown.

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