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Ivory Coast admits possible army 'slip-ups'
by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) Nov 19, 2012

Ivory Coast on Monday admitted to possible military "slip-ups" following a wave of attacks by armed groups and promised to launch a probe, after a Human Rights Watch report said the army was responsible for widespread human rights abuses.

Given the "security situation" following the deadly attacks on the army in August and September and the "level of human rights training" of the security forces, "it's possible that there were slip-ups", Ivorian Human Rights Minister Gnenema Coulibaly told AFP.

The statement came after Human Rights Watch released a report Monday saying the country's military was responsible for widespread human rights abuses during a "brutal crackdown" following the attacks on the army.

"The abuses included arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, extortions, inhuman treatment, and, in some cases, torture," the rights organisation said in a statement.

Coulibaly credited the report in his pledge to launch an investigation to verify the allegations and, if necessary, hold the officers accountable.

"We have nothing to hide nor anyone to protect," he said.

The country's security forces have since August been subject to deadly attacks by armed groups, which the government has blamed on supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo -- a claim Human Rights Watch deems "credible" but that Gbagbo supporters deny.

Last month, Amnesty International said more than 200 people, including Gbagbo supporters, had been arbitrarily detained in Ivory Coast, and urged President Alassane Ouattara to respect human rights.

Coulibaly said at the time that "when the security of the state is under threat, the army will step in" before the police and judicial officials get involved.


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