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Journalists from two pro-Gbagbo newspapers fear for their lives

(MFWA/IFEX) - Journalists of "Le Temps" and "Notre Voie", pro-Gbagbo daily newspapers, are living in a state of fear after armed men believed to be elements of Alassane Ouattara, the new president of Côte d'Ivoire, ransacked their offices on 13 April 2011.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the attack on the newspapers came barely two days after Laurent Gbagbo was deposed. The assailants looted and destroyed the newspapers' equipment including computers. Some of the journalists have gone into hiding.

On 15 April, "Le Temps" on its online version accused President Ouattara's government of a systematic plan "to kill all pro-Gbagbo journalists". The newspaper said a meeting to that effect was held at the Hotel du Golf, the official seat of the Ouattara administration, and 17 journalists perceived to be supporters of Gbagbo were "blacklisted".

Meanwhile, Amadou Coulibaly, Communication Director of President Ouattara, has dismissed the "Le Temps" claim, saying that the attacks on the newspapers were isolated incidents which he said could be attributed to economic reasons. Coulibaly assured the pro-Gbagbo media and journalists of protection.

In a related development, four armed groups, on 13 and 15 April, looted the premises of the state-owned Ivorian News Agency (AIP). The groups wielding AK47 riffles attacked the AIP offices separately and took away two vehicles and a number of computers as well as refrigerators.

The correspondent said one of the groups who could not break into the building housing the finance and administrative departments attacked a security man and took away his money and a cellular phone.

François Gnankou, acting General Manager of the AIP, has called for security protection to enable them go about their duties without fear.

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