French judges to probe I Coast disappearanceof Canadian reporter

5th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

ABIDJAN, Oct 5 (AFP) - Two French judges were in Ivory Coast's economic capital Abidjan Tuesday to conduct investigations into the disappearance six months ago of Franco-Canadian journalist Guy-Andre Kieffer, a source close to the inquiry has said.

ABIDJAN, Oct 5 (AFP) - Two French judges were in Ivory Coast's economic capital Abidjan Tuesday to conduct investigations into the disappearance six months ago of Franco-Canadian journalist Guy-Andre Kieffer, a source close to the inquiry has said.  

Judges Patrick Ramael and Emmanuelle Ducos arrived here on Sunday and are expected to remain in the west African country for around two weeks, the source said.  

Kieffer, a correspondent for the bi-weekly French-language newsletter La Lettre du Continent devoted to African affairs, vanished without a trace on April 16. The last time he was seen was in the car park of a supermarket in Abidjan.  

Kieffer was an expert on cocoa, of which Ivory Coast is the largest producer in the world.  

Ramael has already travelled twice to Ivory Coast, in May and June, to probe the journalist's disappearance.  

Only one person has been arrested in connection with Kieffer's disappearance: Michel Legre, the brother-in-law of President Laurent Gbagbo's wife, Simone, with whom Kieffer was due to meet on the afternoon he vanished.  

In 10 hours of interrogation of Legre in May, Ramael extracted the names of some of the president's closest advisers in connection with the disappearance.  

They included Gbagbo's spiritual adviser, Pastor Moses Kore; former defence minister Bertin Kadet; Aubert Zohore, director of the office of Economy and Finance Minister Paul Antoine Bohoun Bouabre; and Victor Nembelissini, head of the national investment bank.  

All have denied involvement in the abduction of the 54-year-old father of three, with Kadet going so far as to file a libel suit against Legre.  

Legre was charged in May with being an accomplice to kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and murder, and is in detention.  

In August, French police, armed with a warrant issued by Ramael, searched the home near Paris of Leonard Guede-Pepe, also known as James Cenach, a close collaborator of the Ivorian finance minister.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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