United Nations delegation led by Special Representative comforts people in Néko

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11 Nov 2015

United Nations delegation led by Special Representative comforts people in Néko

Following the tragic events which happened in Néko, (a village in Lakota department situated at 245 km from Abidjan in Lôh Djiboua region) on the night of Sunday, 8 November 2015, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Cote d'Ivoire, Mrs Aïchatou Mindaoudou went to console people in the area and inquire about the current situation on Tuesday, 10 November 2015. It should be noted that these events resulted in one death and the destruction of properties, including several homes which were set on fire, vandalism and internally displaced persons.

Accompanied by a high-level delegation composed of a representative of the UN Development Programme, (UNDP) and personnel from UNOCI divisions, namely Civil Affairs, Human Rights, Public Information, Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration ( DDR), as well as UN Police, Mrs Mindaoudou welcomed the quick response of the local government and administrative authorities in the department and the presence of UNOCI Niger Contingent which certainly helped "to limit the extent of the destruction".

In Lakota, the Special Representative held discussions with members of local government who brief her on the situation. Mrs Mindaoudou's delegation then went to visit the family of the person who died to present the condolences of the United Nations, before going to Néko, which is situated at some 10 km from Lakota.

The Special Representative criticized the behaviour of youths while in Lakota and Néko. She appealed to them not to create conditions in which property can be destroyed but to instead focus on maintaining the peaceful co-existence which their parents had established for many years. "Your parents have created the path to cohesion, you should work to preserve what already exists which links all of you", said the head of UNOCI.

"If we want to take the law into our own hands, we create disorder and chaos. When we establish a society where laws are not respected, we engender violence and disorder," she warned.

Condemning the violence in no uncertain terms, the Prefect of the Region, Mr. Kpan Droh Joseph, appealed to village, community and neighbourhood leaders to show patience and keep calm. "We will come back and see you to discuss with each of you while waiting for decisions to be taken". He appealed for the return of the villagers who had left and asked the local radio to sensitise them in this regard.

The Special Representative and the Prefect of Region agreed to maintain peacekeeping contingent in place as well as the Ivorian security forces – much to the satisfaction of the villagers. "We will see with the UNDP how best we can accompany the Ivorian authorities in helping people who have been adversely affected by this incident". Today, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will provide some 100 tents to people who lost their homes in Neko Village.