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Four men arrested for killing UN officials in Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] announced Friday that four men responsible for killing seven UN officials during an armed conflict near the border town of Tai were arrested in Liberia [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The seven UN peacekeepers, all from Niger, were killed [Telegraph report] in a cross-border raid in early June. The attack was believed to be directed at the UN troops and organized by militants and mercenaries. Ouattara stated that the head of the operation was among those arrested [Reuters report] but did not reveal any other information regarding identities or nationalities. The UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) [official website] stated that it did not receive any reports concerning the recent arrests. The four men are expected to be transferred to Ivory Coast [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in the near future to face trial.

The continuing violence in the Ivory Coast has been the subject of criticism by international human rights groups. On Tuesday the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] announced that it is sending human rights officials to investigate [JURIST report] the recent attack on a relocation camp for internally displaced persons in Nahibly. The attack took place last Friday when around 300 individuals attacked the camp resulting in seven people being killed, 67 individuals being injured and 5,000 inhabitants being forced to leave the site. Earlier this month the country's justice ministry announced [JURIST report] that two allies of former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] have been charged with genocide relating to the violence that followed Gbagbo's refusal to step down after his defeat in the November 2010 elections. Gbagbo was captured and forced to surrender [JURIST report] in April of last year after French tanks moved in on his residence while Outtara's forces surrounded it. The confirmation of charges hearing against him was postponed in mid-June by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] amid a request by his lawyers for more time.

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