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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Ivorian militias fail to disband
By James Copnall
BBC News, Abidjan

Pro-government militias in Duekoue
Several thousand militiamen are active in the south of the country
Several Ivory Coast militias which support President Laurent Gbagbo have missed a disarmament deadline, throwing doubt on elections due in October.

Some 2,000 armed men were expected to be disarmed and sent to cantonment sites in the western town of Guiglo. but no-one showed up.

The militias were meant to have been disbanded as part of a peace deal.

Ivory Coast has been split in two since rebels seized control of the north of the country in September 2002.

Flagging

The head of the UN Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme told the BBC he was not sure why the militias had not turned up.

He said they had publicly committed to disarming and had now gone back on their word.

A spokesman for Ivory Coast's DDR programme confirmed that information.

The main militia leaders could not be reached for comment.

It is the second disarmament deadline that the militias have missed in just over a week.

Until the militias, who support President Gbagbo, are shut down the rebels who control the north of Ivory Coast will not disarm.

Elections are due in October but the country is still split in two and the peace process is flagging, making it extremely unlikely that elections will be held on time.


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