More than 100 Bodies Found in West Ivory Coast


U.N. investigators have found more than 100 bodies in the past 24 hours in western Ivory Coast in what appeared to have been ethnically driven killings, the U.N. human rights office said Friday.

"The human rights team investigating... in west Cote d'Ivoire found more than 100 bodies in the past 24 hours in three locations," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"All the incidents appear to have been at least partly ethnically motivated," he added.

About 40 bodies were found in Blolequin, west of Duekoue, and "perpetrators appear to be Liberian mercenaries."

"The team also went to a nearby town of Guiglo, where they saw more than 60 bodies," he said, adding that some of the victims included people who were non-Ivorians but from other West Africa countries.

Another 15 bodies were also found in Duekoue, in addition to 229 corpses previously found in the town.

"There's very much an existing ethnic element to it," said Colville, noting that some victims were burnt alive and others thrown down a well.

"I think one has to be a little bit cautious of assigning responsibilities," said Coville, underlining that the recent political standoff had grafted on to ethnic tensions in the region.

"Certainly there has been an escalation in the past two weeks," he added.