Cote d’Ivoire: Gruesome Discovery of a Mass Grave in a Mosque Compound in Abidjan

ouattara2Ms. Kadidia Ledron, spokesperson of the United Nations Organization Mission in Cote d’Ivoire, reports that on December 4, investigators from the UN witnessed the exhumation of 6 unidentified bodies and other human remains from a hidden mass grave in a mosque compound in Adjame, a suburb of the Ivorian capital Abidjan. Ms. Ledron gave no explanation as to the circumstances that led to the gruesome discovery.

In April 2011, aided by France and the UN, Alassane Ouattara, a self-declared Muslim and Northerner, launched his rebel troops against the Ivorian defense forces and seized power after contested presidential elections in Cote d’Ivoire. The rebels’ triumph was followed by a series of ethnic and religious massacres by Ouattara’s followers against Christian populations from the West and the South, presumed to be former President Gbagbo’s supporters. Although President Gbagbo was deported to the International Criminal Court and no one from Ouattara’s camp was ever prosecuted for their alleged crimes, lately, more and more human rights organizations have been critical of Ouattara for enabling crimes against humanity and for protecting criminals. These organizations, among which Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the UN, have been pushing for inquiries on alleged massacres committed under Ouattara’s authority. Just recently a UN report blamed Ouattara’s government for sending hit men against opposition members within and outside Cote d’Ivoire. An accusation which prompted the spokesperson of Ouattara’s government to declare “we could have killed them if we really wanted to,” a suggestion that Ouattara’s hit men rarely botched their missions.

Many observers venture that the latest gruesome discovery is more evidence of the religious and ethnic killing frenzy undertaken by Ouattara’s militias against Christians and Southerners which took place during the first 12 months of Ouattara’s presidency when impunity was at its paroxysm. For the time being, only serious investigations will tell how the unfortunate victims met their deaths.

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