Red Cross: Bodies litter streets of Abidjan

The humanitarian organisation working in Ivory Coast says there is still a shortage of supplies in parts of the city.

    It is unclear how long it will take to bring peace and stability to Ivory Coast following months of fighting [Reuters]

    Bodies continue to litter the streets and there remains a shortage of supplies in parts of Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) has reported.

    The ICRC said in a statement on Thursday that there was also evidence of widespread looting in the west of the country and "a massive inflow" of aid was urgently required.

    The battle for Abidjan

     
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    "In several parts of the city, bodies still litter the streets," Dominique Liengme, the head of the ICRC delegation in Abidjan, said.

    "Many who are injured or ill still cannot go to hospital because of the security situation, or because they lack
    transportation. Medical facilities that are still functioning are overwhelmed, and they lack supplies and personnel.

    The organisation added that large numbers of people had been arrested in connection with the armed conflict over the past few days.

    An official in Geneva was unable to be more precise on the numbers and added that some of those arrested had since been released.

    The statement comes one day after Alassane Ouattara, the new president, promised to restore security and prosperity to a nation broken by civil war.  

    Ouattara's rival Laurent Gbagbo was captured in Abidjan by forces loyal to Ouattara earlier this week, ending a power struggle that followed Gbagbo's refusal to accept that he lost last November's presidential election.

    The fighting that followed cost hundreds of lives, uprooted more than a million, according to the United Nations, and wrecked the economy of the world's number one cocoa exporter.

    Investigations continue

    The ICRC said its officials had begun visiting detainees in Bouake in the north of the country in order to assess the treatment they receive and conditions of detention.

    It has also asked to be able to visit Gbagbo and his close relations, who were arrested on April 11.

    A continent's discontent

    The independent humanitarian agency reports its confidential findings on prisoners and their treatment only to detaining authorities.

    The ICRC said it had been able to improve water provision, sanitation and medical supply to Duekoue and Guiglo in western Ivory Coast where tens of thousands of displaced people are gathered.

    It has also helped some of the estimated 130,000 Ivorian refugees, who have fled to neighbouring Liberia since December, get back in contact with their families.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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