UN hits out at killings of Ivory Coast peacekeepers | News | DW | 08.06.2012
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UN hits out at killings of Ivory Coast peacekeepers

The United Nations has condemned an ambush that killed seven peacekeepers in Ivory Coast. The soldiers were killed in an area prone to attacks by forces loyal to the country’s former president.

UN envoy to Ivory Coast, Bert Koenders, said late on Friday that the peacekeepers were part of a patrol in an area where their presence had been boosted after threats of attacks against civilians.

Koenders said the mission would "take all necessary measures following this grave violation of international law."

He condemned the attack, in the remote southwest of the country, "in the strongest possible terms."

Spokesman for the UN's peacekeeping operations, Kieran Dwyer, said reinforcements would be moved into the area by daylight.

Some 40 peacekeepers were reported to have been staying the area overnight to protect villagers against an attack.

The group Human Rights Watch said in a report published on Wednesday that at least 40 people have been killed since April last year, in raids by fighters based in neighboring Liberia loyal to former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo.

Gbagbo has been in custody in The Hague since November, charged with crimes against humanity.

Violence broke out after a presidential vote in 2010, which was won by present head of state Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo refused to surrender until he was defeated by French and UN-backed local forces in April last year. The UN has had a peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast since 2004.

rc/ch (AFP, AP, Reuters)