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U.N.: About 68 bodies found in more Ivory Coast mass graves

By Helena DeMoura, CNN
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Mass grave discovered in Ivory Coast
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: U.N. investigations suggest the latest bodies are from an April 12 massacre
  • A U.N. spokeswoman says the 68 bodies were found in graves near Abidjan
  • More than 1,000 have died in clashes after a contested presidential election
  • U.N. teams found more than 200 bodies in a mass grave in April
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(CNN) -- Forensic experts have unearthed about 68 bodies from another cluster of mass graves in war-torn Ivory Coast, a United Nations spokeswoman said Monday.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, said human rights investigators found a total of 10 mass graves in the Yopougon district, near the country's commercial capital of Abidjan, over the weekend.

According to U.N. investigations, the Yopougon killings appear to be related to an April 12 massacre in which supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo staged an attack on supporters of Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo's unwillingness to hand over power to Ouattara after last year's presidential election -- even after Ouattara was recognized internationally as the winner -- resulted in months of violence.

In April, U.N. teams found more than 200 bodies buried in a mass grave in the western town of Duekoue.

More than 1,000 people have died following the contested 2010 presidential election that pitted Ouattara against Gbagbo.

Ouattara was sworn in Friday as president of Ivory Coast, ending the months-long political standoff.

Shamdasani said the Ivory Coast government has been cooperative in helping investigators search for clues, some of which may incriminate Outtara supporters as well as Gbagbo supporters.

"When we apply pressure, they do respond," she said.

An independent, international commission of inquiry is investigating alleged human rights violations committed by supporters of each presidential candidate, Shamdasani said.

"Some of these crimes may amount to crimes against humanity," Shamdasani said. "But for now, we can't say that with confidence."

 
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