A government minister in Ivory Coast says authorities have unearthed human remains that may be those of journalist Guy-André Kieffer, a dual French and Canadian citizen, who had disappeared in 2004.
CBC radio host Carol Off investigated corruption in the cocoa industry in the Ivory Coast in her book Bitter Chocolate.
She says Guy-André Kieffer was examining links between the country’s regime and the cocoa trade – that money was diverted from sales of cocoa to buying arms.
Talking on CBC News Network on Sunday, Off says the French magistrate examining Kieffer’s disappearance was "thwarted at every turn" and told Kieffer's family that he "would never find out the truth until this regime was gone."
A large majority of the world’s cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast, with the beans being picked by children.
Off says she was also threatened while digging into the cocoa issue and says one of her Ivorian sources was reluctant to give her information, pointing out: "You saw what they do to those who ask questions. Can you imagine what they do to those who answer?"
Justice Minister Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou said Saturday the remains were found in the western town of Issia, but he did not provide further details.
Kieffer, who was 54 when he disappeared, was working in Abidjan as an independent journalist, writing articles about government corruption.
His family maintains he was targeted by the Ivorian government for his reporting, and says he spent two days in a jail cell at the presidential palace after he went missing. The government denied any involvement in his disappearance.
Kieffer had been investigating a story involving money laundering and illegal currency transfers in Ivory Coast. His research is said to have incriminated some top government officials in the country.
He disappeared April 16 in Abidjan, capital of the Ivory Coast. His car was found abandoned and his cellphone wasn't working.
Back in 2004, Canada's Foreign Affairs department said the government had set up a task force with government officials from France and Ivory Coast to follow the case.