UN denies alleged attempts to kill Cote d'Ivoire's Gbagbo

10:15, April 12, 2011      

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The UN peacekeeping mission in Cote d'Ivoire and the French Licorne forces have defended themselves against the charges by close confidants of incumbent Laurent Gbagbo that they were planning to assassinate him.

The spokesman of Gbagbo's government Ahoua Don Mello said on Monday that the bombardments by UN planes on the residence of their leader had partially destroyed his home and that these attacks had no other intention than kill the outgoing president.

The spokesman of the United Nations Mission in Cote d'Ivoire (ONUCI), Hamadoun Toure, was quick to reject these allegations.

"We have nothing against Gbagbo himself. We are only using these bombardments to accomplish our mandate of protecting civilians as outlined in the UN Security Council resolution No. 1975," he said.

Toure said Gbagbo's forces had continued to attack civilians and the ONUCI headquarters with heavy weapons despite the bombardments by UN and French forces on April 4 against his military bases.

"Heavy weapons were ferried to Gbagbo's residence and they are being used against civilians. It's these weapons that we are targeting in the bombardments. It's, however, not a massive attack on the residence of the outgoing president," Toure explained.

The head of the UN peacekeeping mission, Alain Leroy, last week accused Gbagbo's camp of using tricks.

"Gbagbo's camp lied that it wanted a ceasefire for the purpose of negotiations but it used this moment to re-arm itself," Leroy said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated the willingness to protect Cote d'Ivoire's civilian population and ordered the "use of any necessary means" to neutralize Gbagbo's heavy weapons.
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