Ivory Coast: December 7, 2002


French troops discovered a mass grave in rebel-held territory in northwestern Ivory Coast about 40 miles from the key town of Daloa, on the afternoon of 5 December. The French spokesman said the grave near Pelezi was "a mound 30 meters long and two meters high, from which bodies protruded." A villager who had led the French soldiers to the grave also pointed out a nearby well where there could be more bodies. 

Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement (MPCI) rebel commander Zacharias Kone demanded an international inquiry. There are no details yet on how fresh the grave was, the number of dead or who the victims might be, but the MPCI claimed that government troops bombarded the nearby town on the night of 4 December, killing 12 civilians and wounding a similar number. The rebels allege that loyalists rounded up the Malian, Burkinabe and Nigerian expatriates, herded them to the sites and beat them before throwing them into the graves. Loyalists point out that the graves were found in an area controlled by rebels. - Adam Geibel


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