Le Courrier d'Abidjan
November 7, 2004, in Duékoué , Ivory CoastMassé, a correspondent for the private daily Le Courrier d'Abidjan, was fatally shot while covering violent clashes between French troops and demonstrators in the western Ivoirian town of Duékoué, his editor told CPJ.
Le Courrier d'Abidjan Editor Théophile Kouamouo told CPJ that Massé was among several people killed during a demonstration by the pro-government group Young Patriots, which opposed the movement of French peacekeeping troops from the west to the commercial capital, Abidjan. The demonstration came amid several days of violence in the former French colony during which dozens were killed and many more injured and displaced.
The turmoil began November 6 after an Ivory Coast air strike against French peacekeepers killed nine soldiers and a U.S. aid worker. France, which had been overseeing a fragile cease-fire between rebel and government forces, retaliated by destroying the country's military aircraft--sparking an uprising by loyalist youths in the south who took to the streets armed with machetes, iron bars, and clubs. France and other nations began evacuating thousands of foreigners as a result.
Kouamouo, whose newspaper is considered sympathetic to President Laurent Gbagbo's Ivoirian Patriotic Front party, claimed that French troops had opened fire during the November 7 clash in Duékoué. French military officials did not comment directly on Massé's death, although French Gen. Henri Bentegeat acknowledged that his soldiers had opened fire in certain cases to hold back violent mobs, the Associated Press reported.
Job: Print Reporter
Beats Covered: Human Rights
Local or Foreign: Local
Type of Death: Dangerous Assignment
Suspected Source of Fire: Military Officials