Cote d'Ivoire: Ivoirian Hunters Accused of Abuses

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opinion

"That's why we encourage the authorities to carry out investigations, so that the truth will be known by all. The outcome of the probe will once and for all clear the name of the dozo. We are ready to be part of the [country's] development, and the government has already recognized our merit."

Acknowledgement

During a meeting with the dozo in November 2012, Interior Minister Ahmed Bakayoko lauded the brotherhood for its role in Côte d'Ivoire's troubled past. "Our country suffered a serious crisis. During the conflict, the dozo contribution [helped] to free the country... we are not ashamed to acknowledge that because it is the truth. The government is not ashamed to acknowledge it and say, 'Thank you'," Bakayoko told the dozo gathering.

Despite a defence ministry circular in June 2013 warning the dozo against mounting road blocks, and a July cabinet resolution forbidding them to bear arms, they still carry weapons and set up road barricades. The tacit support of some officers in the security forces, politicians, and local and traditional authorities is encouraging the dozo, according to ONUCI's report.

"They are known to have supported pro-Ouattara [forces] during the [election] conflict. They still remain in towns, and the authorities are struggling to have them resume their [traditional] activities. This could be because some promises made to them have not been fulfilled," said Pierre Kouamé Adjoumani, head of the Ivoirian Human Rights League.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said dozo members implicated in rights abuses should be held responsible for the violations. "The authorities have a duty to carry out serious investigations on the human rights violations by the dozo and bring perpetrators to justice, and accord victims appropriate reparations," ONUCI cited Pillay as saying.

Insecurity remains a problem in western Côte d'Ivoire, where the dozo operate. Unresolved land ownership disputes, and ethnic and political tensions in the region have often ignited violence.

ONUCI's Nindorera expressed concern that the dozo might again be used in the 2015 presidential elections if they are not disarmed. "For there to be credible elections, a solution must be found soon. The government has issued several orders, but nothing has changed."

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

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