The UN mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) must protect the tens of thousands of civilians displaced by the conflict who wish to return to their home villages but are afraid to do so, Amnesty International said today.
“Thousands of people are hiding in the bush in life threatening conditions and without any proper food or sanitation. They need to be reassured and to be allowed to return to their homes,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty’s Côte d’Ivoire researcher who is currently in the west of the country.
Scores of villages between the towns of Guiglo and Blolequin, 600 km west of Abidjan, have been burnt or looted and almost all local inhabitants have fled following the fighting that took place in the area at the end of March, an Amnesty International delegation on the ground reports.
“We have seen ghost villages with nearly no civilians. Nearly all the 30,000 civilians have fled from Blolequin after intense fighting and massacres took place there” said Gaëtan Mootoo.