Cote d’Ivoire: Journalist Receives Death Threats for Critical Stories

An Ivorian journalist and blogger Fofana Baba Idriss popularly known as “FBI” has reported receiving death threats from unknown persons.

Idriss who is also a member and deputy general treasurer of the national association of bloggers of Côte d’Ivoire (Union National des Bloggers de Côte d’Ivoire –UNBCI), reported receiving death threat messages via sms, phone calls and comments on his blog. According to Idriss, he started receiving the threats from March 2016.

Idriss is known to write critical articles on the social and political issues in Cote d’Ivoire. He writes on a regular basis on cyber-crime which many Ivorian youth are alleged to be involved in. His political articles have most often been a comparison of the governance style of President Allassane Ouattara and former President Laurent Gbagbo. According to MFWA’s correspondent, such stories have often resulted in threats.

The Ivorian news site published one of such threatening messages sent to Idriss: “Mr. Fofana Baba Idriss, the journalist who used the fake name Dakoury, you have written about President Laurent Gabgbo. OK, I am coming from Liberia now and I am in Duekoué where your parents live, but you are my target, so expect me soon because all your deeds and gestures are under scrutiny and I warned you yesterday. You will never escape; I will make you soup (an Ivorian saying that connotes killing). Words of General Gbôke, who never fails; you will understand that shedding blood is my pleasure.”

In the night of April 20-21, 2016, some unidentified individuals broke into his home while he was out and left a message saying he was “lucky to be out.”

Meanwhile the UNBCI has since issued a communiqué condemning the death threats on Idriss’ life and have called on the Ivorian authorities, security officials and human right organisations to protect the journalist.

The MFWA equally condemns the threats on Idriss’ life and also calls on Ivorian authorities especially President Allassane Ouattara who has continuously pledged his support for press freedom and freedom of expression to ensure the safety of the journalist.

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