Ivory Coast littered with weapons

April 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April 16 (UPI) -- Ivory Coast is still flush with weapons more than two years after an end to post-election conflict, a researcher from Amnesty International said.

Laurent Gbagbo was arrested with the help of French peacekeepers in April 2011 following the political violence. Ggabgo refused to stand down as president despite international recognition that Alassane Ouattara won a contest meant to unite a country divided by war.

Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court for crimes allegedly committed during the post-election violence. Rights groups say Ouattara supporters may have played a role in the crisis as well.

Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 3,000 people died in fighting from November 2010 to May 2011. Amnesty International West African researcher Salvatore Sagues told the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN that Ivory Coast is littered with weapons despite an arms embargo enacted in 2004.

"Arms continued to be delivered to pro-Gbagbo forces during the 2011 post-election crisis" he said. "This shows that even a U.N. arms embargo is not enough to stop the illegal trade of weapons."

U.N. officials said they were keeping a close tab on security developments ahead of local elections scheduled Sunday in Ivory Coast.

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