- Title: IVORY COAST: French security expert found shot dead in Ivory Coast.
- Date: 8th February 2007
- Summary: (BN02) ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (FEBRUARY 7,2007) (REUTERS) WIDE OF INTERIOR OF NATIONAL RADIO STATION CLOSE UP ON RADIO JOURNALIST SIGN NATIONAL RADIO STATION "RADIO COTE D'IVOIRE, CHAINE NATIONALE" (SOUNDBITE) (French) DESIRE ADJOUSSOU, DEPUTY POLICE DIRECTOR, SAYING: "At around 2 in the morning, the direction of the criminal police has been informed of the shooting of a French national, officer of security of the European Union." CLOCK (SOUNDBITE) (French) DESIRE ADJOUSSOU, DEPUTY POLICE DIRECTOR, SAYING: 'Investigations were promptly carried out and a survey of the crime scene confirmed that the victim suffered several traumatic wounds caused by gunfire." WIDE OF RADIO STATION STUDIO (SOUNDBITE) (French) DESIRE ADJOUSSOU, DEPUTY POLICE DIRECTOR, SAYING: "The help of French experts has been solicited and a team of the French forensic experts is awaited in the next few hours." ADJOUSSOU LEAVING THE STUDIO
- Embargoed: 23rd February 2007 12:00
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA8ECDGB2D2VBL632Z5LUFGGGC4
- Story Text: A French security expert working for the European Union (EU) in Ivory Coast was found shot dead at his home inside a closely guarded diplomatic compound in the economic capital Abidjan on Wednesday, police said.
Michel Niaucel, 54, was a former police commander who was in charge of regional staff security at the European Commission's delegation in the war-divided West African state, where he had lived for around four years.
The victim was killed by a single bullet fired from his own service pistol, police said, but they ruled out a robbery because there was no sign of forced entry into his villa. They said his wife, Karine, was helping them with their inquiries.
"At around 2 in the morning, the direction of the criminal police has been informed of the shooting of a French national, officer of security of the European Union...Investigations were promptly carried out and a survey of the crime scene confirmed that the victim suffered several traumatic wounds caused by gunfire," deputy police director Desire Adjoussou said on state television news.
He said a team of French police forensic experts were due to arrive "in the coming hours" to assist with the investigation.
"The help of French experts has been solicited and a team of the French forensic experts is awaited in the next few hours," Adjoussou said.
Niaucel's wife told police she was woken from her sleep by a conversation between her husband and an unknown individual in their bedroom before a deafening bang rang out, Adjoussou said.
However, he said it was unlikely an intruder gained entry to Niaucel's home, where he lived with his wife and 13-year-old daughter. He said Niaucel was killed around 2 a.m. (0200 GMT).
He said a pillow with a hole and traces of gun powder had been found in the bedroom and appeared to have been used to smother the blast. A 357-calibre Smith & Wesson revolver was found in a bathroom cabinet containing the empty casing of a fired bullet.
A spokesman for the European Commission in Abidjan, Lucien Houedanou, said its offices in Abidjan were closed on Wednesday following the death, but the EU staff compound of villas and apartments located near the city centre had not been evacuated.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Paris was in contact with Ivorian authorities.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's External Relations Commissioner, said in a statement she was "deeply shocked" by Niaucel's death.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower, has been divided into a rebel-held north and government-run south since a brief 2002-2003 civil war.
United Nations and French peacekeeping troops protect a fragile ceasefire line separating the rival forces.
Armed robberies of the homes of expatriates and diplomats in Abidjan have become fairly common as poverty in the once prosperous former French colony has increased since the war.
France's embassy in Ivory Coast regularly advises its nationals there to be cautious and avoid crowds.
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