In news from Ivory Coast, the International Committee of the Red Cross reports at least 800 people have been killed in the western town of Duekoue. It is not clear who the perpetrators were, but the killings took place in an area under the control of forces fighting to install the country’s internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara. Corinne Dufka is a senior researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division.
Corinne Dufka, Human Rights Watch Africa Division: “We’re trying to understand who the victims are. Clearly it was an area that fell to the forces loyal to Ouattara, but we understand, obviously, you know, hundreds of people have been killed in that area, and we’re trying to get more information about it. We have also received reports of very serious abuses committed in the west by both sides again, but this is an area that’s pretty much of a no-go area for international human rights investigators.”
Fighting has also intensified in Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan, where forces loyal to Ouattara are battling loyalists of the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo. French troops have now seized control of the city’s airport. Much of the city is facing a humanitarian crisis.
Corinne Dufka: “People are absolutely desperate. No food. Water has been cut off in many areas. And then, obviously, on top of that, they have had to deal with the tension from fighting and fears that they will be attacked from one side or the other. So, a very desperate situation indeed.”