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Reporters group condemns killing of Ivory Coast journalist

By the CNN Wire Staff
Laurent Gbagbo defied calls to step down after an electoral commission declared he lost a presidential election.
Laurent Gbagbo defied calls to step down after an electoral commission declared he lost a presidential election.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sylvain Gagnetaud was killed two weeks ago in Yopougon, according to Reporters Without Borders
  • Journalists loyal to the former president "continue to be hounded by the country's new authorities"
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(CNN) -- A journalist who openly supported the Ivorian Popular Front of former President Laurent Gbagbo has been killed in a suburb of Abidjan, Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday.

Sylvain Gagnetaud was killed two weeks ago in Yopougon, where post-election violence between pro-Gbagbo forces and those loyal to President Alassane Ouattara was common, the group said in a statement posted on its website.

The deputy editor and presenter at Radio Yopougon was arrested "during a sweep by pro-Ouattara forces through the Yopougon neighborhood of Koweit on or around 8 May and was executed soon afterwards along with youths suspected of being militiamen, several different sources say," the statement said.

It called the reappearance of opposition newspapers "encouraging," but added that journalists loyal to Gbagbo "continue to be hounded by the country's new authorities."

"We are very disappointed to see that the situation continues to be very tense and delicate for many journalists and that reprisals are becoming more frequent," Reporters Without Borders said.

"The ability of the security forces to shed light on Gagnetaud's murder will be a test for the newly installed authorities. We urge the judicial system to identify and try those who were behind this journalist's murder in order to end the impunity. We also call on President Ouattara's government to keep its promises and to create the conditions for a free and independent press."

Gbagbo defied calls to step down after an electoral commission declared he lost a presidential election in November to Ouattara, who was recognized internationally as the legitimate winner.

A power struggle followed the standoff, with supporters loyal to both sides taking to the streets in protests from December until April, when Gbagbo was arrested. Hundreds were killed, according to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

After Gbagbo's arrest, Radio Yopougon was attacked and set afire on April 13, the reporters group said. "Gagnetaud had tried to flee Yopougon, where fierce fight was taking place," it added. "Precise information about the circumstances of his arrest and death is not available."