Editor’s Note: This piece was first published on Amb. Campbell’s blog, Africa in Transition, on the website of the Council on Foreign Relations.
“Human Rights Watch researchers spoke with more than 100 victims of, and witnesses to, the violence, including killings by militiamen with bricks and clubs, and sexual assaults in front of family members. Witnesses described seeing family members or neighbors dragged from their homes, mosques, restaurants, or the street into waiting vehicles. Many were “disappeared,” including some victims who were later found dead.”
While the international media has referenced increasing violence in Cote d’Ivoire following the disputed elections between incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, details have been sparse. Human Rights Watch changes that with the release of its preliminary investigation of post-electoral violence. As suspected, HRW reports that much of the violence has been perpetrated by forces loyal to Gbagbo against Ouattara supporters. And in many cases, attackers have made it abundantly clear to their victims that intimidation is the goal, with statements such as “Go tell Alassane it was us who did this to you.”