IN MEMORIAM STEPHANE FRANTZ DI RIPPEL
Ivorian security authorities, now under a new and legitimate government, have yesterday confirmed that the remains of the General Manager of the Novotel in Abidjan have been found, bringing an anxious period of several weeks of waiting by his family, friends, colleagues and staff to a gruesome end.
Stephane was abducted by armed men together with several guests from the Novotel Abidjan in early April, when former President Gbagbo tried to illegitimately hold on to power by use of brute and indiscriminate force against his population and even expatriates, before he was eventually captured and is now being held awaiting trial.
While no specific details are available yet on motives or the individuals involved in the abduction at the time there are strong suspicions that it was Gbagbo’s henchmen and goons who were involved as Gbagbo at the time incited and inflamed the situation with anti French statements and rhetoric, giving prosecutors a fresh case to build against the former dictator already under investigation for alleged crimes against humanity.
It is understood from Novotel personnel known to this correspondent that the hotel group is ‘devastated and deeply distressed’ since the news broke as are the entire staff of the Novotel Abidjan and the previous posting stations of Stephane in Cotonou and Lome. Stephane had only taken over as General Manager a few weeks prior to being abducted and subsequently killed.
No word has yet been given about the fate of the several other guests who were abducted at the same time but the worst is feared for them now while the search for them continues.
Condolences are expressed to Stephane’s family, friends, his colleagues and staff on this sad occasion and may he rest in eternal peace.