Eight months on, video proof of Doukouré massacre surfaces
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Eight months ago a massacre took place in the streets of Doukouré, a small neighbourhood in Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan. Although brutal killings made headlines around the world , it is only now that video from the aftermath of the bloodshed have surfaced. FRANCE 24 Observers journalist Julien Pain, who travelled to the country for this weekend’s parliamentary elections, describes how he came across the footage.
Eight months ago a massacre took place in the streets of Doukouré, a small neighbourhood in Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan. Although the story made headlines in the media, it is only now that video from the aftermath of the bloodshed have surfaced. FRANCE 24 Observers journalist Julien Pain, who travelled to the country for this weekend’s parliamentary elections, describes how he came across the footage.
Here is what Pain had to say about his experience:
While touring the district of Yopougon in Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan on election day Monday, one of our Observers, Sanogaud, took me to Doukouré, a small neighbourhood home to a significant Muslim population from the country’s northern regions.
On April 12, one day after the capture of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, a deadly massacre took place in Doukouré’s streets. Although there were widespread media reports on the incident at the time, it is only thanks to Doukouré’s residents that we now have video proof of what happened on that tragic day.
Sanogaud brought me to the Doukouré so I could see a mosque that had been set ablaze during the massacre.
Mosque in Doukouré.
He also took me to see the graves of those who had been killed by pro-Gbagbo forces eight months ago.
Mass graves in Doukouré.
A man approached us as we took photos of the makeshift graves. He was there the day Gbagbo’s forces entered Doukouré.
'I was in the neighbourhood a little ways away. I heard gunshots ring out. Upon their arrival, Gbagbo’s forces began shooting at random. Sixty-eight people were killed that day. They then told us ‘bury the bodies, otherwise we will burn them’. The bravest residents went to dig the common graves'.
As we began to leave the neighbourhood, another man stopped us. He told us that he possesses footage shot just after the massacre. It is a video that locals have shared via Bluetooth, but have been unable to post online because there is no Internet access in Doukouré. In the video, one can see dozens of bodies being buried in the exact spot where I had taken a photo just moments before.
Owner of video footage depicting the Dourouké massacre burial.
Dourouké residents help FRANCE 24 Observers journalists transfer the video.
WARNING: This video contains shocking images
In the wake of the April 12 massacre at Doukouré, local residents bury the dead.
In May 2011, the UN opened an investigation into the massacre at Doukouré, which confirmed the existence of mass graves in the neighbourhood and concluded that the violence had most likely been carried out by pro-Gbagbo forces. Images of the victims’ burial, however, were not released.