Allegations of third mass grave in I.Coast: UN rights

13th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The office of the UN rights chief said Thursday that there are allegations of a third mass grave in Ivory Coast, two weeks after it first raised concerns about such burial sites.

"There have been allegations of a third mass grave in Ivory Coast in a place called Issia near Daloa," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, referring to the western-central region.

"However, the UN has not been able to verify its existence at this point," he added.

On December 31, 2010, Pillay had pointed to reports of at least two mass graves in Ivory Coast, which has been in a political crisis following a presidential election.

Colville also raised concerns about recent attacks against peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, warning that they may be considered as "war crimes."

"We are very concerned by these attacks... Attacks on peace keepers may be considered as war crime," he added.

On Thursday, at least three UN vehicles were attacked and burned by forces loyal to Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, while a day ago, three UN peacekeepers were injured after being attacked by Gbagbo's supporters.

The country has plunged into political crisis because of Gbagbo's refusal to stand down despite a vote which the Independent Electoral Commission, UN and most of the world said his rival Alassane Ouattara won.

© 2011 AFP

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