Skeleton found in Ivory Coast could be missing journalist

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The wife of a Franco-Canadian journalist missing in Ivory Coast since 2004 said Saturday she feared that a skeleton found in the west of the country was his.

"We have always clung to the one percent chance that he was still alive," Osange Silou-Kieffer told AFP.

But if the skeleton turned out to be that of her husband, Guy-Andre Kieffer, "we will have to cope with a murder, not just an abduction, and begin to mourn."

Guy-Andre Kieffer had been investigating corruption within Ivory Coast's cocoa sector and was last seen alive in an Abidjan parking lot on April 16, 2004.

He had fixed a meeting there with Michel Legre, the brother-in-law of Simone Gbagbo, wife of then president Laurent Gbagbo.

A French examining magistrate arrived in Ivory Coast on January 2 in the wake of Gbagbo's ousting by current president Alassane Ouattara.

The bones were found Friday in the region of Issia, some 360 kilometres (225 miles) west of Abidjan. Osange Silou-Kieffer said that DNA samples had been sent off to France and the results of analysis should be known Tuesday or Wednesday.

"It will not be over until those responsible are punished," she said, a sentiment echoed by media rights body Reporters without Borders.

Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to hand over the reins to his long-time opponent Ouattara after being defeated in November 2010 polls plunged the world's top cocoa-grower into a deadly crisis which the United Nations said claimed around 3,000 lives.

Ousted in April last year, he is now awaiting trial by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for alleged crimes against humanity.

© 2012 AFP

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