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UN investigates mass grave in Abidjan district

Published on 06/05/2011

The UN human rights office said Friday it was investigating violations in the last district of Ivory Coast's economic capital held by forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, after the discovery of a mass grave.

The neighbourhood, Yopougon, fell to government troops on Wednesday after heavy fighting, authorities said.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said UN rights staff would “visit the site of a mass grave in the district,” possibly on Friday, while “investigating human rights violations in the district.”

The United Nations was also examining an attack Tuesday on a Baptist church there that provided shelter for 2,500 internally displaced people, Colville told journalists.

He said it was not clear if the grave was linked to the attack on the church or whether it contained the bodies of fighters or civilians.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a briefing note that “54 people were said to have been taken away” from the church towards a petrol station.