Ivory Coast: Ivory Coast starts exhuming mass graves across the country / Africa News


The Ivorian government has started to exhume the mass graves of people killed in the violence that hit the country after the disputed 2010 election between former President Gbagbo and incumbent Ouattara.

The West Africa nation was hit by wave of violence after the 2010 elections were declared in favor of incumbent Ouattara who was then in an opposition leader.

Analysts say more than 3,000 people were killed after Laurent Gbagbo then incumbent President refused to cede power to current President Alassane Ouattara.

Justice Minister Gnenema Coulibaly led a team to observe a moment of silence as a grave on the grounds of a mosque was being dug up.

Local reporters say the bodies exhumed at the Mosque were believed to be of men aged 17 to 35 who were killed while they were defending the mosque against Mr. Gbagbo troops in the heat of the conflict.

The government says it intends to exhume 57 mass graves across the country, saying the recovery of bodies was a step towards achieving justice and reconciliation in the country to achieve national unity.

About 150 supporters of Mr. Gbagbo have so far been charged over the conflict but those of incumbent President Ouattara have not been charged.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch HRW said the government has so far failed to charge any of President Ouattara’s supporters who also took part in the conflict…This they say can amount to “miscarriage of justice’’ and can still fuel trouble in the country, after the mass grave was exhumed.

The group said in a statement that: “President Ouattara’s expressed support for impartial justice rings hollow without more concrete action to bring justice for victims of crimes committed by pro-government forces.

But military prosecutor Ange Kessi Kouame dismissed the claims by HRW as he told reporters that he carried out investigation impartially and hope that those responsible for the atrocities will be bring to book.

“I prosecute if you make a crime, and I don’t consider whether you are pro this camp or another,” he said.

The conflict ended after French-backed forces captured Gbagbo in April 2011 and handed him over to the International Criminal Court ICC.

Judges are still to decide whether to put him on trial over the post-poll violence but Mr. Gbagbo has maintained that he is innocent and that he was defending democracy.

Issaka Adams /NationalTurk Africa News

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