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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06ABIDJAN1042 2006-09-15 15:56:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abidjan
Cable title:  

COTE D'IVOIRE SITREP 15 SEPTEMBER 2006, 1430 GMT

Tags:   PGOV PREL ASEC SENV CASC IV 
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VZCZCXRO4758
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #1042/01 2581556
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151556Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1923
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0353
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1435
RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ2/ECJ3/ECJ5//
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABIDJAN 001042 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

KINSHASA FOR BRAZZAVILLE; EUCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC SENV CASC IV
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE SITREP 15 SEPTEMBER 2006, 1430 GMT

Classified By: DCM V. VALLE FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)



1. (U) A number of roadblocks were established in Abidjan on
the morning of September 15. By early afternoon, some of
these had been dismantled although roadblocks remained
primarily in the Riviera district of Abidjan, where the
Embassy is located. A group of about 50 protesters gathered
in the morning in front of the RTI television station in
Cocody. The roadblocks appear to have been prompted by a
continuing protest over the dumping of toxic waste in
Abidjan. (There were also unconfirmed reports that the
roadblocks were set up to commemorate the death of a student
during clashes two weeks ago between police cadets and
university students.) As a precautionary measure, most
Embassy personnel and private citizens were advised to stay
at home. Embassy remains open with a skeleton staff.



2. (SBU) There have been several reports that additional
toxic waste was dumped at several sites in Abidjan on the
night of September 14-15. The country representative of the
UN's Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) told Refugee officer that the French Force (Licorne)
Commander has confirmed that new toxic waste was dumped in
the Akouedo district of Abidjan last night. Akouedo is one
of the sites where toxic waste was previously dumped and also
the location of Abidjan's principal garbage dump. The OCHA
representative said the WHO is currently checking a report of
new toxic dumping in the Deux Plateaux district of Abidjan.



3. (U) There is also strong circumstantial evidence of
additional toxic dumping as renewed chemical odors were
reported at various locations in Abidjan. Several Embassy
officers reported feeling dizzy and experiencing headaches
and irritated breathing passages after smelling a strong odor
while driving by the Golf Hotel near the chancery. Some
Embassy personnel also reported an irritating odor around the
chancery and chancery guards remained at their posts but went
indoors as a precaution. The odor around the chancery
appeared to have dissipated by early afternoon.



4. (C) The director of the International Community School of
Abidjan, also in the Riviera district, has closed the school
for the day because of the strong odor on school grounds.
The director told RSO that he had heard that the trucks that
allegedly dumped the additional toxic waste last night had
been escorted by Ivoirian security forces. However, this
report is unconfirmed and we have not heard it from any other
sources.



5. (C) Embassy Refugee officer and CDC Chief of Party were
told by a UN disaster assistance team yesterday that they
were concerned that there might be trucks in Abidjan
containing additional toxic waste that had not yet been
disposed of. Such waste was being searched for by Ivoirian
security forces and the UN feared that those involved might
try to get rid of the incriminating evidence by dumping the
waste wherever they could.



6. (C) We have received reports from multiple sources that
the opposition Minister of Transportation and his wife were
attacked on the morning of September 15 while they were in a
vehicle en route to a morgue to visit the remains of the
Minister's deceased brother. The Minister was allegedly
beaten until Defense and Security Forces (FDS) intervened on
his behalf. FDS sources have told the Defense Attach, that
the Minister is now at an Army base at Akouedo. The French
Defense Attach, told our DATT that the Minister of
Transportation was not seriously injured.



7. (C) Police sources have told RSO that the house of the
Director of the Port of Abidjan was burned down by protesters
this morning. There is no information on the whereabouts of
the port director or his family, but he is rumored to have
left for Europe four days ago. The director is a close
collaborator of President Gbagbo and is widely believed to
funnel port revenues to the President and his party. The
attacks on the Minister of Transport and the port director's
house have been reported in international media.



8. (U) In a televised speech on September 14, Prime Minister
Banny announced an investigation into the toxic waste scandal
and the suspension of the Director of the Port of Abidjan,
the Director General of Customs, the Governor of the District
of Abidjan, and the Director of Maritime Affairs at the
Ministry of Transport. Banny said the toxic waste sites are
being cordoned off and a French company, Tredi International,
has been hired to clean up the waste. The Prime Minister
assured Ivoirians the Abidjan water supply is not

ABIDJAN 00001042 002 OF 002


contaminated and that steps are being taken to protect food
sources. Banny said eight of ten trucks containing toxic
waste had been located and impounded and the government was
looking for the other two. Also on September 14, the
government announced that it has placed charcoal at sites
where the toxic waste is located to absorb the odor.
Hooks