Friday, May 20, 2011

Cote D'ivoire: UN peacekeepers receive arms collected in Abidjan after political crisis

UN - The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) today announced that it has received crates of weapons and ammunition collected by French Licorne forces during patrols in the country’s commercial capital, Abidjan, in the days after the end of the post-election crisis in the West African country.

Sophie Da Camara, the Director of UNOCI’s Division of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), stressed the importance of the registration of the weapons to identify their model, serial number and date of manufacture, according to a UNOCI press release issued today.

“The DDR division, with the help of the Force, will collect and safeguard the weapons and ammunition, while the embargo unit will, in turn, identify the source of the weapons to ensure that they are not [acquired in contravention of the weapons embargo] and that they have not entered in Côte d’Ivoire illegally,” she said.

According to Jérome Millot, the Joint Post Commander of the Force Licorne, more than 100 weapons of various models and boxes of ammunition of different calibres were collected during patrols in the suburbs of Abidjan.

The refusal by former president Laurent Gbagbo to stand down after he lost the UN-certified run-off poll in November plunged the West African country into four months of violence, with his troops pitted against forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized President. Mr. Gbagbo surrendered last month and was taken into custody.