The Guardian Jan 2 2010
UN peacekeepers have been ordered to do everything in their power to investigate reports of atrocities and mass graves in Ivory Coast, where post-election violence is alleged to have left more than 200 people dead.
The instruction came as the opposition leader Alassane Ouattara repeated his call for the international criminal court in The Hague to send a mission to examine the actions of troops loyal to PresidentLaurent Gbagbo.
In a new year’s message Gbagbo made clear he would continue his game of brinkmanship despite pressure from the UN and world leaders for him to avoid a return to civil war by standing down and allow Ouattara to enter office.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, phoned Ouattara yesterday. “The secretary-general told President Ouattara that he was alarmed by the reports of egregious human rights violations,” a UN spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said.
The UN believes up to 80 bodies may have been moved to a building in a pro-Gbagbo neighbourhood in the capital, Abidjan. Investigators have tried to visit several times, and even made it to the front door before truckloads of armed men forced them to leave.