Journalist missing in Ivory Coast was murdered

24th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 23, 2007 (AFP) - A Franco-Canadian journalist who went missing in Ivory Coast three years ago was abducted and murdered, a man claiming to be a witness told French television in an interview to be aired Thursday.

PARIS, Aug 23, 2007 (AFP) - A Franco-Canadian journalist who went missing in Ivory Coast three years ago was abducted and murdered, a man claiming to be a witness told French television in an interview to be aired Thursday.

The independent journalist, Guy-Andre Kieffer, disappeared in Abidjan in April 2004 while investigating corruption in Ivory Coast's important cocoa industry. The French investigation has concluded that officials close to President Laurent Gbagbo were involved.

Public broadcaster France 3 interviewed a man, Berte Seydou, who claims he was a driver in the commando which abducted Kieffer in the parking lot of an Abidjan supermarket.

Seydou said Kieffer was first taken to an Abidjan villa where he spent 30 minutes. Kieffer "was stressed, like someone in danger," Seydou said.

He was then taken to the presidential palace where he spent two days and two nights.

Subsequently his captors took him to a farm, "a secret place for executions", Seydou said.

The head of the commando, Jean-Tony Oulai, "gave a sign with his pistol and two members (of the commando) machine-gunned" Kieffer, Seydou said.

Kieffer's body was kept on the farm by the military, and then taken to another house, Seydou claimed, adding he did not know what happened to it then.

French police believe his claims are credible, France 3 said. A source close to the French investigation said detectives believed those responsible were members of the army or a militia friendly to President Laurent Gbagbo.

Oulai was in January 2006 charged in France with kidnapping Kieffer, but was later set free.

The last person to have seen Kieffer alive was Michel Legre, the brother-in-law of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo.

Legre was indicted by Ivorian authorities in May 2004 on kidnapping charges, but was later released.

In testimony to a French judge who travelled to Ivory Coast to investigate the case, Legre implicated senior members of Gbagbo's entourage.

AFP

Subject: French news

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