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Illegal arms fueling abuses in Ivory Coast

March 20, 2013 at 8:52 AM

LONDON, March 20 (UPI) -- Illegal arms supplies are reaching both sides in the Ivory Coast conflict despite a United Nations embargo, a report by a human rights group indicates.

A 33-page report issued by Amnesty International Wednesday documents how illegal weapons from Europe, Africa and China are fueling grave human rights abuses and violent crime in the West African nation.

The report said since armed violence escalated in 2011, hundreds of Ivorians have been killed, women and girls have been subjected to sexual violence and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes.

"Cote d'Ivoire provides a chilling reminder of how even a U.N. embargo can fail to halt arms from flowing freely to warring parties, with devastating consequences for the civilian population," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general.

The report said U.N. investigators found evidence in 2012 of an elaborate arms trafficking network involving companies and individuals in several countries including Senegal, Guinea, Tunisia and Latvia, the report said.

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