Cote d’Ivoire ALERT: Investigative journalist in hiding after escaping kidnap attempt

André Silver Konan, an investigative journalist and a victim of several attacks from pro- Gbagbo forces, has gone into hiding after allegedly escaping a kidnap attempt on March 8, 2011.

In an email to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent, Konan, a senior reporter with Le Nouveau Réveil, a pro-Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) daily said his life was in danger, hence his decision to flee.

The correspondent said although Konan did not provide the exact circumstances of the kidnapping attempt, he accused “militiamen of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo” of being behind this latest attack.

Konan, who is also a writer and known for his caustic criticism of the Gbagbo regime was in 2006 subjected to a 13-hour interrogation at the High Command of the national gendarmerie following an article he wrote and headlined,: “The 100 crimes of the Ivorian Popular Front Party (FPI) regime”.

He broke the story of the importation of toxic waste into the country allegedly by Gbagbo’s clan in August, 2006 that resulted in the deaths of some Ivoirians

That same year also, he accused the Gbagbo regime of ordering all publishing houses in the country not to publish his first book, “L’opposant historique” (The Historic Opponent), which describes the mischief of a character who bore a strange resemblance to Laurent Gbagbo.

In another development, four armed men believed to be members of the “invisible commando”, an insurgent group in Abobo , a northern suburb of Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’Ivoire, on March 14seized a vehicle belonging to Groupe Olympe, publishers of the privately-owned Soir Info and L’Inter newspapers as well as Star Magazine.

The MFWA correspondent reported that the four-well built men ordered the occupants out of the vehicle saying: “there were some wounded persons we have to rush to the hospital. Give us your vehicle. We shall return it to you later”. The four armed men then drove the vehicle in the opposite direction. They have since not returned the car.

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