Deadly Ambush Kills Seven ‘Blue Helmets’ in Cote D’ivoire

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A deadly ambush has claimed seven ‘blue helmets’ in southwestern part of Ivory Coast.

Reports say the seven peacekeepers from Niger were part of a patrol that was on a mission south of the locality of Tai, a zone where UNOCI recently strengthened its presence due to threats of attacks against the civilian population.

Upon hearing the demise of the Nigerian peacekeepers,the head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire, Bert Koenders expressed strong condemnation on the the deadly ambush against the UN peacekeepers.

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United Nations peacekeepers from Senegal at San Pedro, a region that is controlled by Government troops. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

“UNOCI will take all the required measures following this severe violation of international law.” -UNOCI

Last May 2011, Cote d’Ivoire’s today inaugurated President Alassane Ouattara in the country’s political capital, Yamoussoukro.

President Ouattara reiterated his commitment to promoting reconciliation, dialogue and peace following the recent post-election violence.

Cote d’Ivoire’s political crisis ended when former president Laurent Gbagbo finally surrendered in mid-April 2011, ending months of violence that erupted in the wake of his refusal to step down after he lost the United Nations-certified presidential run-off election in November last year to Mr. Ouattara.

Earlier this month, the United Nations refugee agency said as the situation stabilizes in Cote d’Ivoire, the pace of the Ivorian outflow into neighbouring countries is gradually slowing.

According to the refugee agency, in the past week for example the average number of Ivorians crossing into Liberia has gone down from 200 to 130.

The refugee agency also has resumed the repatriation of Liberian refugees who had been stranded in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, during the recent post-election violence there.

Violence erupted in Cote d’Ivoire last December when Mr. Gbagbo refused to step down after he lost the UN-certified presidential run-off election in November to Alassane Ouattara. Mr. Ouattara was sworn in earlier this month after Mr. Gbagbo surrendered in April, and much of the violence ceased.

UNOCI was established in 2004 by the Security Council to facilitate the peace process in the country. The mission, whose current mandate runs until 31 July, is currently tasked with assisting the country tackle the many challenges it faces in the wake of the violence that followed presidential elections in late 2010 and the electoral crisis that finally ended in April 2011.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.