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Ouattara visits scene of worst killings

24 April 2012, 08:27

Duekoue - Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara headed to the western town of Duekoue on Monday, the scene of the worst killings during the post-election crisis.

Ouattara's visit to Duekoue comes at the end of a three-day trip to the west, his first time in the region since taking office in April 2011 after a political meltdown that saw months of fighting between his supporters and loyalists of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo.

"It's a sign of restored peace, because we suffered a lot from the crisis here in Duekoue. We are saying 'never again' we want peace," Katogoma Kalo, a local businessman, told AFP.

A team from the International Criminal Court visited Duekoue on 14 March to investigate suspected mass graves that appeared to hold hundreds of people killed in late March 2011, when forces loyal to Ouattara seized the town.

Ouattara had planned to visit the west in October last year, but had to delay the trip.

According to the UN, about 3 000 people died in the violence that shook the Ivory Coast from December 2010 to April 2011 – 1 000 of them in the west, a region prone to ethnic tensions.

The region still faces security problems, and about 170 000 people displaced by the election violence are currently living there, the UN says.



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