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RTI reportedly broadcasting from mobile truck

(RSF/IFEX) - 3 April 2011 - While the 2 April 2011 resumption of broadcasting by state-owned Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI) gave the impression that its headquarters had been recovered by forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, various local sources have told Reporters Without Borders that the Gbagbo camp could be broadcasting the RTI signal from an Abidjan house using a mobile broadcast truck.

This is also what Capt. Kouakou Léon Alla, the spokesman of the government of Gbagbo rival Alassane Ouattara, claims in a communiqué, a copy of which has been obtained by Reporters Without Borders.

"The Prime Minister and defence minister [Guillaume Soro] assures all Ivorians and the international community that it is by using a mobile truck that the Gbagbo clan pirates are trying to revive RTI in order to continue their propaganda for the destruction of Côte d'Ivoire," says communiqué No. 030 of 02/04/11/CAB-PM-MD/PP, signed by Alla.

"This vehicle is the target of a search by the [pro-Ouattara] Republican Forces and will be destroyed as soon as possible," the communiqué continues. "RTI's actual installations are no longer functional."

The Gbagbo government's spokesman, Ahoua Don Mello, and its foreign minister, Alcide Djédjé, deny these claims and insist that their camp still has control of RTI.

Several sources who live near the RTI headquarters in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Cocody, told Reporters Without Borders that there was no one currently in the building.

President Gbagbo gave RTI a mobile broadcasting truck worth 1 billion CFA francs in February 2009, along with two Fly-Away mobile TV signal satellite uplinks.

"Propaganda and public appeals to Ivorians to mobilize are compounding such rumours and mysteries of the past 72 hours as who controls RTI and where Laurent Gbagbo is," Reporters Without Borders said. "The fierce street fighting is being accompanied by an all-out communication and information war. We caution all the forces involved against using the media to issue messages of hate against opposing forces or civilian groups."

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