U.N. reviews Ivorian police developments

Feb. 15, 2012 at 11:02 AM
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The police force in Ivory Coast must work for the whole of the country as it steps away from post-election civil conflict, a U.N. official said.

Bert Koenders, U.N. special envoy to Ivory Coast, toured Ivorian police training centers alongside members of the U.N. police force.

Koenders, in a statement, said it was "an important time" to strengthen a police force "who work for the whole country, all regions and all citizens."

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast, known by its French initials UNOCI, said effective police training would help in the fight against racketeering, which it said drags on the Ivorian economy.

Ivory Coast was pushed close to civil war following contested presidential elections in November 2010. Former President Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of committing crimes against humanity, though human rights groups believe both sides to the conflict likely committed atrocities.

Nevertheless, Koenders said the country was moving along on the path toward post-conflict recovery.

"I am proud of the work that was done and we can see a breakthrough in cooperation between the U.N. and institutions of the country to modernize and build capacity," he said in a statement.

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