Ivory Coast Civil War Appears Imminent

March 4, 2011  |  

(Los Angeles Times) — Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa — A spasm of deadly violence in Ivory Coast, including the killings of six women who were shot Thursday as they demanded that the country’s intransigent president step down, points to an irreversible slide back into civil war in the West African country, analysts say.  The United Nations reported Thursday that 26 people had been killed in the preceding 24 hours amid a complete breakdown of trust between the country’s rival presidents. That toll included the women, who had staged protests believing they wouldn’t be targeted by the army, which is loyal to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo.  Gbagbo refused to step down after he was declared the loser in a United Nations-certified election last year. Winner Alassane Ouattara refuses to take part in any compromise unity government that includes his opponent, making a peaceful solution elusive.

Rinaldo Depagne, an analyst with the International Crisis Group think tank, said it was difficult to see a resolution because of the distrust between Gbagbo and Ouattara.  “It would be very difficult to find,” he said in a phone interview from Dakar, Senegal. “You have got Laurent Gbagbo, who doesn’t want anything but to stay as president, and for him it’s nonnegotiable. And Ouattara doesn’t trust Gbagbo at all. “Ouattara controls the central bank, but operates out of a hotel. Gbagbo controls the army, but is facing difficulties paying the troops.

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