Gov’t to Extradite Dozens of Ivoirians
A court in Zewdru, Grand Gedeh County ruled on Thursday that about 40 Ivoirians currently being detained in the county be extradited to stand trial in their home for their alleged role in the country’s conflict. No Liberian is said to be in the number.
The New Dawn correspondent in the county said the men were arrested last year by UN peacekeepers as they attempted to cross into Liberia with cars, guns and ammunition.
The Government had earlier dropped charges against the accused but on Wednesday filed a petition before a Zewdru court seeking their extradition to Ivory Coast in the wake of the cross-border raids that have left several persons dead including 7 UN peacekeepers.
"The petition of the government of Liberia is hereby granted by this court," Judge Sakaichiepo Wolo announced in the court Thursday. The men were taken to the Zwedru central prison under heavy guard to await extradition.
Grand Gedeh County Attorney "John Gabriel was quoted by the AFP as saying “It is left now with the authorities of Ivory Coast to decide when these people should be extradited to their country where they will face trial.”
But a local intellectual forum in the county said the move by the Government is intended to satisfy the international community after being accused by the Human Right Watch International that it was harboring Ivorian dissidents.
This development comes two weeks after 22 people, including seven UN peacekeepers from Niger, were killed in two separate attacks in western Ivory Coast, which Ivorian officials say they believe originated in Liberia.
Shortly before the attacks Human Rights Watch issued a report saying at least 40 people had been killed since July 2011 in raids from Liberia by diehard Gbagbo supporters.
The Liberian government has since listed 10 "persons of interest", eight Liberian and two Ivorian, who are wanted in connection with the attacks. Two of the Liberians handed themselves in this week.
Among those wanted is Ivorian former youth leader Charles Ble Goude, who at the height of the crisis rallied his followers to take up arms. His whereabouts have been unknown since Gbagbo's fall.
Ivorian Prime Minister Jeannot Ahoussou-Koudio said Tuesday the attacks were "the last jolts of Laurent Gbagbo's bloody regime and this cannot undermine reconciliation."