ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) -- A human rights group says at least 22 people have been killed and five women raped in central Ivory Coast since December by men who fought in last year's postelection violence and have yet to be disarmed.
Human Rights Watch said in a Monday statement the government should quickly disarm former combatants and equip the police and gendarmes with the resources to protect the population and investigate violent crimes.
Ivorian government spokesman Bruno Kone said the government is aware there is lawlessness and is attempting to curb it. But, he says the process is "difficult" due to the "several thousand" illegal weapons in circulation.
In 2011 the president enlisted the New Forces rebel army to help defeat supporters of the country's former ruler. Both sides also gave weapons to those who volunteered to fight.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)