Grenade Kills Children in Ivory Coast

By Meryl White
Impunity Watch Reporter, Western and Central Africa

BONDOUKOU, Ivory Coast – Seven children aged four to fifteen, have died after playing with a hand grenade that they found on the ground near their Koranic school. Seven more children were injured in the blast. Two of the children are in critical condition at a hospital in Bondoukou.

The boys picked up the grenades. The first grenade went off when the child removed the pin and resulted in the numerous deaths. After the accident, parents of another child turned the second grenade over to the police as part of Ivory Coast’s disarmament process.

The scene had been described as “just devastating,” by an investigator on Wednesay. He also stated that “One of the children had a severed head.”

Bondoukou is 460 kilometers from the economic capital Abidjan in the south. Moreover, it is the site of a former front line of the five year conflict that ended in March 2007. In March, Laurent Gbagbo, the President of Ivory Coat reached a peace agreement with rebel leader, Guillaume Soro. The rebels released control of northern Ivory Coast.

Today, Mr. Soro is a prime minister in the power-sharing government. Since December, the government has been employing a disarmament process.

Richard Secre, chairman of Bondoukou’s local council, stated “We’re in a zone which isn’t far from the front line. With the war, weapons were moved around but we don’t know how these grenades got here.”

For more information, please see:

BBC- Grenade kills W African children – 2 January 2007

Reuters- Grenade blast kills 7 children in Ivory Coast – 2 January 2007

IC Publications- Seven children die in Ivorian grenade accident: police  – 2 January 2007

Chad Forces Attack Darfur

By Meryl White
Impunity Watch Reporter, Western and Central Africa

KHARTOUM, Darfur –  According to a Sudanese diplomatic source, there is presently a joint offensive under way between Chadian forces and rebels in Sudan’s Darfus region. The joint offensive between the Chadian armed forces and Darfur rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement have attacked numerous towns and villages in the area of el-Geneina, located in Western Darfur.

Chad claims to only have attacked targets alongside the border, claiming not to have crossed into Sudan. Nevertheless, reports show that on Friday, a Chadian aircraft attacked targets inside Sudan. In response, the Sudanese government has filed complaint to the UN Security Council, describing Chad’s attack as “unprecedented.”

A Sudanese foreign ministry statement seen by Reuters on Sunday stated “In an unprecedented escalation, Chadian forces have violated the joint border as three Chadian war planes bombed two areas … in West Darfur … on Dec. 28.”

On Wednesday, Chad accused Sudan of sheltering and re-arming Chadian rebels after last month’s armed conflict. 

Presently, statistics estimate that the war in Darfur has cost the lives of over 200,000 people and forced 2.5 million from their homes.

AU troops in Sudan are presently undertaking a UN mission. The planned mission will eventually consist of 20,000 troops and 6000 police and civilian personnel. Currently, only about 9000 troops and police are in place.

For more information, please see:

The Australian – UN-African force takes over in Darfur – 2 January 2008

Reuters – Sudan accuses Chad of bombing Darfur, Chad denies – 30 December 2007

BBC – Chad ‘launches attack in Darfur’ – 30 December 2007