All Articles Tagged "ivory coast"

Picking up the Pieces in Ivory Coast

April 15th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(AP) –Teams of Red Cross workers shoveled charred corpses into bags in Ivory Coast’s main city Thursday while U.N. peacekeepers gathered weapons hidden in basements, throwing them into dump trucks for disposal. More than a week of heavy fighting turned a city once known as the Paris of West Africa into one of deprivation, fear and death. The urban warfare culminated in the arrest on Monday of strongman Laurent Gbagbo. Now President Alassane Ouattara’s first order of business is to get Abidjan functioning again.

Now that fighting has reduced and even the most hardcore Gbagbo supporters have given up after having seen TV images of the former president in custody, the people of Abidjan have begun to leave their homes for the first time in over two weeks. Orange taxis zigzag between the bullet-riddled wrecks of tanks and the charred carcasses of their occupants left after days of bloody battles.

“We need to secure the country, notably Abidjan,” Ouattara said at his first press conference on Wednesday. “There are still arms caches, but we will get rid of them with our allied forces … These weapons will be gathered and burned.”  U.N. spokesman Hamadoun Toure said Thursday that dozens of U.N. vehicles went through Abidjan as part of a peace parade led by U.N. peacekeeping mission head, Choi Young-jin.  “We are doing a peace parade throughout the city to assess the improvement in the security situation. We are encouraging people to return to normal,” he said.

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Ivorian Leader Taken Into Custody

April 12th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Christian Science Monitor) — Ivory Coast’s Former President Laurent Gbagbo was arrested today in a joint raid by French forces and fighters loyal to President-elect Alassane Ouattara, French embassy officials in Abidjan have confirmed.  The operation came after weeks of fighting and a weeklong siege of Mr. Gbagbo, who barricaded himself in the bunker under his presidential palace, refusing to cede the presidency. The heavy fighting kept most civilians indoors and created food and water shortages, leading to a sharp deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Abidjan. Security also deteriorated, as fighters on both sides took to looting and banditry.  After emerging from his bunker, Gbagbo was brought to the Golf Hotel, which Mr. Ouattara set up as the de facto government headquarters. A French military spokesman told the Associated Press that no French forces were involved in the arrest.

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Laurent Gbago’s Supremacy Ends In Recent Arrest

April 11th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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"laurent gbagbo ivory coast"By Charlotte Young

After four months of fighting to maintain his presidential authority in the Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbago’s reign has come to an end. According to the Washington Post, president-elect Alassane Ouattara’s French-backed troops arrested Gbago Monday at his compound in Abidjan.

Ouattara’s UN Envoy Youssoufou Bamba says that the former president is alive and “will be brought to justice.”

“This man is over, this era is over,” Bamba says, adding that Gbago’s supporters, who have yet to lay down their arms, are “fighting for nothing.”

While Bamba assures that the arrest was handled by Ouattara’s forces, Zakaria Fellah, a Gbago loyalist and advisor, vehemently asserts that it was French troops who arrested Gbago. Afterwards, he says, Gbago was handed over to Ouattara’s troops.

Fellah goes on to say that the way Gbagbo was deposed “will leave a legacy of deep resentment among his supporters” because they will view the situation as another example of how France, their former colonial power, once again stepped in to decide who will lead the country.

Top UN peacekeeping official, Alain Le Roy, said that Gbago’s forces continued shooting on UN and civilian targets after regrouping in the Plateau and Cocody neighborhoods of Abidjan. They also took shots at the Golf Hotel, Ouattara’s headquarters.

According to Le Roy, Gbago is at the Golf Hotel held under UN peacekeepers. Since the hotel has served as Outtara’s home for several months, Le Roy told reporters that he is not sure if Ouattara and Gbago have spoken to each other.

French Forces Attack Ivory Coast Leader

April 11th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York Times) — A day after French and United Nations helicopters fired missiles at key positions held by forces loyal to the entrenched strongman Laurent Gbagbo, columns of black smoke rose on Monday over Abidjan, and French troops were reported to be advancing towards his residence.  Witnesses quoted by Reuters said a column of about 30 French armored vehicles, accompanied by ground forces, was pushing forward from one of the city’s main boulevards toward the residence, part of which had been destroyed by missiles fired from helicopters according to one Mr. Ggagbo’s top aides.  A French military spokesman in Abidjan said the aim of the operation was to avoid a “bloodbath,” but declined to elaborate, Reuters reported. Thick smoke could be seen rising from the Cocody area of the city — Ivory Coast’s commercial capital — where Mr. Ggagbo has been holed up in a bunker for days, refusing international demands to surrender power.

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Ivory Coast Leader Under Siege

April 7th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York Times) — Opposition forces in Ivory Coast on Wednesday blasted away at the residence of the nation’s strongman, Laurent Gbagbo, hoping to seize him alive for a possible trial after he refused French and United Nations demands to step down.  The all-day assault on Mr. Gbagbo’s heavily guarded and well-armed redoubt, complete with tanks and antiaircraft defenses, marked a new and perhaps ultimate phase in the international campaign to dislodge a man who has clung to power long after losing an election and the world’s recognition as a legitimate leader.

As the fighting swelled and ebbed on Wednesday, millions of residents of Abidjan, once one of the world’s major ports, suffered another day of privation. Water, food and electricity all waned on the fifth day of the battle for the city.  Relief officials spoke of a burgeoning humanitarian crisis, as daily life — already squeezed by international sanctions — ground to a virtual halt, the streets remained dangerous even for simple shopping trips and armed partisans roamed.

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Ivory Coast Braces for More Bloodshed

April 4th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Albany Times Union) — Residents barricaded themselves inside their homes Sunday, blanketing windows and pushing furniture against doors as this country on Africa’s western coast tensely awaited the final battle between the two men who claim the presidency.  Fighters backing the internationally recognized president, Alassane Ouattara, amassed at a tollbooth on the city’s northern edge, preparing for the final assault. Their leader was declared the winner of last November’s election, but Ouattara has not been able to assume office because the outgoing president, Laurent Gbagbo, is refusing to yield power.

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The Battle For Ivory Coast’s Presidency Reaches a Turning Point

March 31st, 2011 - By TheEditor
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"alassane ouattara"By Charlotte Young

When General Phillip Mangou, chief of staff for the Ivory Coast’s army, abandoned his post Thursday and headed to the South African ambassador’s home with his wife and five children for safety, it could only mean one thing–Alassane Ouattara is headed to the capital city of Abidjan.

The New York Times reports that Mangou’s actions have significantly shaken up incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo who refused to step down when his rival Alassane Ouattara was internationally recognized as the  winner of the presidential election held last November.

Ouattara has been steadily moving toward the capital. He has even gained the loyalty of several of the cocoa-producing cities where reports say Gbago’s forces have simply given up. Since the battle for the presidency began, the United Nations reports that approximately one million people have already fled the country.

Ouattara’s forces took over the administrative capital Yamoussoukro on Wednesday, which served as a symbolic victory since it is the birthplace of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the country’s founding father who led them to independence in 1960.

While many of Ouattara’s conquest have been relatively easy to secure with little to no deaths, analysts and specialists in the situation believe taking Abidjan will be tougher than the previous cities.

Captain Alla of Ouattara’s military told the Times that he did not believe there would be a fight. “We’re asking our brothers-in-arms not to expose their lives,” he said. “For those who think their lives depend on defending Mr. Gbagbo, they will realize the consequences.”

The Battle For Ivory Coast’s Presidency Reaches a Turning Point

March 31st, 2011 - By TheEditor
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"alassane ouattara"By Charlotte Young

When General Phillip Mangou, chief of staff for the Ivory Coast’s army, abandoned his post Thursday and headed to the South African ambassador’s home with his wife and five children for safety, it could only mean one thing–Alassane Ouattara is headed to the capital city of Abidjan.

The New York Times reports that Mangou’s actions have significantly shaken up incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo who refused to step down when his rival Alassane Ouattara was internationally recognized as the  winner of the presidential election held last November.

Ouattara has been steadily moving toward the capital. He has even gained the loyalty of several of the cocoa-producing cities where reports say Gbago’s forces have simply given up. Since the battle for the presidency began, the United Nations reports that approximately one million people have already fled the country.

Ouattara’s forces took over the administrative capital Yamoussoukro on Wednesday, which served as a symbolic victory since it is the birthplace of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the country’s founding father who led them to independence in 1960.

While many of Ouattara’s conquest have been relatively easy to secure with little to no deaths, analysts and specialists in the situation believe taking Abidjan will be tougher than the previous cities.

Captain Alla of Ouattara’s military told the Times that he did not believe there would be a fight. “We’re asking our brothers-in-arms not to expose their lives,” he said. “For those who think their lives depend on defending Mr. Gbagbo, they will realize the consequences.”

Christian Right’s Ties to Ivory Coast Despot

March 31st, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Salon) — The west African nation of Ivory Coast has been in turmoil ever since incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing an internationally certified election in late November. As forces loyal to Gbagbo have killed civilians and been accused of crimes against humanity, and as the number of refugees from the country has ballooned to as many as 1 million, observers have described the situation as worse than the Libyan conflict.  While the crisis has gotten substantial press attention, one aspect of Gbagbo’s past — and present — has flown under the radar: his longtime ties to the Christian right in the United States, a movement in which he still finds at least some support.

That includes a U.S. senator and acquaintance of Gbagbo who declined to intervene in the crisis when asked by the State Department earlier this year, a former congressman who was hired by Gbagbo as a lobbyist, and a Christian right TV network that ran a fawning profile of Gbagbo, even as violence engulfed Ivory Coast. The senator, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, today released a letter to Hillary Clinton calling for new elections in Ivory Coast, putting him in direct opposition to the view of the Obama administration, the United Nations and the African Union that Gbagbo lost a fair election.

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Christian Right’s Ties to Ivory Coast Despot

March 31st, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Salon) — The west African nation of Ivory Coast has been in turmoil ever since incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing an internationally certified election in late November. As forces loyal to Gbagbo have killed civilians and been accused of crimes against humanity, and as the number of refugees from the country has ballooned to as many as 1 million, observers have described the situation as worse than the Libyan conflict.  While the crisis has gotten substantial press attention, one aspect of Gbagbo’s past — and present — has flown under the radar: his longtime ties to the Christian right in the United States, a movement in which he still finds at least some support.

That includes a U.S. senator and acquaintance of Gbagbo who declined to intervene in the crisis when asked by the State Department earlier this year, a former congressman who was hired by Gbagbo as a lobbyist, and a Christian right TV network that ran a fawning profile of Gbagbo, even as violence engulfed Ivory Coast. The senator, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, today released a letter to Hillary Clinton calling for new elections in Ivory Coast, putting him in direct opposition to the view of the Obama administration, the United Nations and the African Union that Gbagbo lost a fair election.

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