Slaughter in Abobo occurred in the backdrop of inflammatory statements.

The FIDH strongly condemns the intensification of violence and abuses against civilians in Côte d’Ivoire.

On March 17, 2011, at least six shells came down on several Abobo districts, including on the Siaka Kone market in the Marley neighborhood, killing nearly 30 people and leaving nearly 60 injured. For several days, the civilian population in Abidjan has been the target of indiscriminate firing of tanks, mortars and Kalashnikovs, particularly in the districts of Yopougon, Adjame and Abobo.

Numerous other abuses against civilians are continuing, particularly summary executions and enforced disappearances. According to the information received by FIDH, yesterday, 4 people were killed by a police officer in the district of Adjame, 3 others were reportedly abducted in Yopougon by elements from the Security Operations Command Center (CECOS) and 7 others, including three students, are reported to have been killed in the Cocody district by members of the Grouping for Peace (GPP), a militia close to Laurent Gbagbo’s party.

These acts of violence accompany the inflammatory statements and other incitements to hatred and violence relayed in the media. Today, the daily newspaper Le Temps, a pro-Gbagbo publication, published an interview of a man who identified himself as being retired from the Defense and Security Forces of Côte d’Ivoire, who calls himself "Commander Fokker" and states that he is leading “an invisible patriotic commando”. In this interview the commander says "we have completed our recruitment and we are prepared to open fire [...] many rebel leaders have set up their families in Abidjan and we have began identifying these families, one by one. Nobody will escape. [...] Since yesterday, we have started firing. Our enemies are already receiving visits from us, in their homes, their offices or even in the streets." The commander imposed a 72 hours ultimatum to the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) to leave the country, and went on to say "Hell has already begun for them. Some of them will never go back to their country. UN employees, civilian and military officials in Côte d’Ivoire, we put them all in one basket. Insecurity is already an experience for them, we spy on them everywhere. "

“Again, we urge the warring parties to respect international humanitarian law and human rights, and recall that those responsible for these crimes will be brought to justice, including, if necessary, before the International Criminal Court who has been seized regarding the situation in Côte d’Ivoire " said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. To that extent, FIDH recalls that hate speeches are considered a crime under international law and they may fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC.

“The United Nations Security Council must immediately give the necessary support and resources to UNOCI so that it can fully insure its mandate to protect civilians, and to ensure, in particular, the deployment of 2,000 extra peacekeepers as soon as possible, as stated in the 1967 Resolution adopted on January 19, 2011 by the Security Council." said Roger Bouka, General Secretary of FIDH.

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