price-compare results for meta vendor sites


07 February 2007

Breaking News: Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire: EU Diplomat Murdered

06 to 07 February 2007
Last Night
Tuesday to Wednesday

A diplomatic representative of the European Union residing in Abidjan, Michel Niaucel (aged 53) was murdered by gunshot in his home last night. Police in the Ivorian capital did not offer a motive for the attack. The murder was officially confirmed by the foreign office in Paris overnight.

Neither Niaucel's wife nor his 13-year-old daughter were physically harmed, although both were present in the family's residence when the murder occurred.

M. Niaucel, a former commander in the French armed forces (gendarmerie), worked with the European Union commission in Abidjan and was charged with the security of staff and officials posted in that civil war torn West African nation.

Background (provided by the Agence Français de Presse) and details are quoted in French below. For the Internet source, click on this post's title.

As of 5:00 AM Atlantic Time, there were no other news releases available via Internet, not even from reliable French-language media in Abidjan.

Michel Niaucel, un ancien commandant de gendarmerie de 53 ans, était notamment chargé des questions de sécurité à la délégation de l'UE à Abidjan, selon des sources diplomatiques concordantes.

M. Niaucel a été tué par balles à son domicile, situé dans une résidence de l'UE au Plateau, le quartier des affaires d'Abidjan, dans des circonstances qui restaient obscures mercredi matin, selon ces sources.

A Paris, le ministère français des Affaires étrangères a confirmé la mort d'un ressortissant français travaillant pour la Commission européenne à Abidjan.

L'épouse et la fille de M. Niaucel, âgée de 13 ans, étaient présentes au moment des faits, selon plusieurs sources diplomatiques à Abidjan.

Aucune hypothèse -- assassinat pour des raisons politiques ou crime crapuleux ordinaire -- n'était privilégiée mercredi matin, selon plusieurs diplomates.

06 - 07 February 2007

The assassination of Ivorian civil and military officials has a 'long tradition' in Ivory Coast. So do attacks against French officials. Given this West African nations present situation, divided between national forces loyal to Pres Gbagbo and the New Force 'rebels' in the northern third of the territory, all ears will be to the ground listening for rumblings of a heightened level of state or rebel-sponsored violence directed at the Gbagbo or rebel leadership.

The background below relates how French civilians were already evacuated over the past 4 years following the outbreak and fallout from the civil war. Peacekeeping military forces in Ivory Coast have reinforced a cordon sanitaire between the opposing sides, further dividing the territory geographically between a more Christian and developped south and a depressed agricultural north, where Muslims and adherents of indigenous religions are in the majority. Class, caste and revolt against French neo-colonial control are big factors that fuel violence and incidents such as the assassination of Michel Niaucel have potential to precipitate or figure into new outbreaks and fresh attempts to precipitate such outbreaks deliberately.

Les relations entre Paris et Abidjan, autrefois partenaire privilégié de la France en Afrique, se sont détériorées à la suite de la tentative de coup d'Etat des FN contre M. Gbagbo en septembre 2002. La France est depuis régulièrement accusée par les partisans du président de soutenir la rébellion.

Elles sont devenus glaciales à partir de novembre 2004, lorsqu'un bombardement de l'aviation ivoirienne a tué neuf soldat français à Bouaké (centre). En représailles, l'armée française avait détruit l'aviation ivoirienne, provoquant une série de violentes manifestations antifrançaises à Abidjan et des affrontements meurtriers entre soldats français et manifestants ivoiriens.

Près de 8.000 expatriés français avaient alors été évacués en catastrophe par l'armée française et rapatriés en France.

Environ 3.000 civils français (hors binationaux) vivent encore aujourd'hui à Abidjan, contre 50.000 dans les années 1980.

L'armée française, par l'intermédiaire de sa force Licorne, compte de son côté quelque 3.500 soldats, chargés de faire respecter le cessez-le-feu entre les FN et le camp présidentiel, qui contrôle toujours le sud du pays.


Anonymous said...

The French article fails to mention that the French opened fire on peaceful demonstrations (they were not affrontements) in Adidjan, killing several unarmed Ivorian men and women. The Muslim-Christian divide is overplayed - the issue is more one of many immigrants in the North who came to work in the agricultural sector.

Blogaulaire said...

Thanks for making important points in your comment. The forced importantion of workers from former Upper Volta, people with ties to Burkina Faso and Mali, is, I agree, the historic back-drop.

I think European and American powers would like an African pyramdidal control of Western Africa through key ports and control centres for commodities and natural resources. But the 'backcountry' they want other African compradors to control is not putting up with it.