Ivory Coast illegally arrested, tortured more than 200 - Amnesty

Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:42pm GMT

* Most arrests followed recent wave of attacks

* Government, U.N. blame attacks on ex-president's loyalists

By Joe Bavier

ABIDJAN, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Police and soldiers in Ivory Coast have illegally detained and tortured more than 200 people including supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo, following a series of armed attacks that began in August, Amnesty International said on Friday.

U.N. investigators said earlier this month that exiled members of Gbagbo's former government and military living in neighbouring Ghana were behind the raids, which have targeted police and army installations as well as key infrastructure.

Gbagbo is awaiting trial in The Hague accused of crimes against humanity related to a brief war last year that erupted after he refused to accept the election victory of rival Alassane Ouattara in a late 2010 poll.

More than 3,000 people were killed in the conflict.

"While acknowledging that the ... government is facing a wave of attacks, we are very worried that the current arrests and repression stem from a willingness for reprisals and revenge," Amnesty West Africa researcher Gaetan Mootoo said.

Ivory Coast's government rejected the accusations made in a statement released by Amnesty on Friday.   Continued...

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.