UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire “instructed” to defend itself

The United Nations mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) has launched an operation to defend itself from pro-Laurent Gbagbo forces in Abidjan.

UNOCI Peacekeepers

This follows instructions given by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to UNOCI to take the necessary measures to prevent the use of heavy weapons against the civilian population. Derrick Mbatha reports.

“The UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire carried out a military operation at 5:00 p.m. local time on Monday to prevent forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo from using heavy weapons against civilians in Abidjan.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that Gbagbo’s forces have escalated their use of heavy weapons such as mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, against the civilian population in Abidjan.

He points out that these forces have also targeted the Headquarters of UNOCI with heavy-calibre sniper fire and heavy weapons.

The Secretary-General stresses that UNOCI is not a party to the conflict and has taken this action in self defence.

Mr. Ban also reminds those who commit serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws that they will be held accountable. Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.”

Duration: 1’01″

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