Amnesty International is asking the authorities in Cote d’Ivoire to investigate the killing of scores of people with rifles, guns and machetes since the presidential election.
The human rights advocate said eyewitnesses it interviewed described post-election violence scenes which took place, amid intensifying clashes between opposition and ruling party supporters, since Oct. 31.
“In some instances, security forces were overwhelmed, failing to prevent violence from both sides,” it said in a statement on Monday.
“We are urging the Ivorian authorities to investigate the bloody violence and bring perpetrators to justice.
“The impunity that has long reigned in Cote d’Ivoire provides fertile ground for people to commit killings and other human rights violations, with no fear of being held to account,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International West and Central Africa Director.
“This is the second time in a decade that elections in Cote d’Ivoire have been marred by violence. The authorities must urgently take measures to protect lives and send a clear message that killings will not go unpunished.”
Violence, which erupted in several towns in Cote d’Ivoire in the lead-up to the presidential election, has continued following the vote.
The National Human Rights Council said that the violence led to 55 deaths between Oct. 31 and Nov. 10 and 282 people were injured.
Amnesty International said that there had also been dozens of arrests of opposition party members, including opposition leader Pascal Affi N’Guessan who has been in detention since Nov. 7.
The statement said that last week, violence escalated in the central region of Côte d’Ivoire, particularly in the towns of Mbatto, Elibou and Daoukro.
“The growing crackdown on opposition leaders and government critics is an attack on human rights. Authorities must stop restricting the right to freedom of movement of people inside the residence of opposition leaders by removing security forces surrounding them,” said Daoud.
“They must immediately and unconditionally release Pascal Affi N’Guessan and all those detained simply for exercising their human rights.
“They must commit to creating a space where people can freely express their opinions and peacefully protest without fear of being arrested, assaulted or killed,” he added.