News / Africa

Abidjan Tense After Soldiers' Killings

The entrance to an army base camp that was the scene of recent fighting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, August 6, 2012. The entrance to an army base camp that was the scene of recent fighting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, August 6, 2012.
x
The entrance to an army base camp that was the scene of recent fighting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, August 6, 2012.
The entrance to an army base camp that was the scene of recent fighting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, August 6, 2012.
Nancy Palus
DAKAR — There is new tension on the streets of Ivory Coast's commercial capital Abidjan. Armed men killed at least 11 soldiers in recent days, with a new attack occurring Tuesday night in the nearby city of Agboville. It is unclear who is carrying out the attacks.  

Whether it was supporters of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo or disgruntled soldiers, the incidents follow killings in the volatile west and raise questions about the country's stability. Abidjan residents said the fresh violence has once again injected fear and uncertainty in their lives.

Yusuf and Bacar were among the few people in the streets of Abidjan on Tuesday, which was a holiday to observe 52 years of Ivory Coast’s independence. They talked about the recent attacks in which armed men killed at least 11 soldiers at a police station and an army base.

“It’s total confusion,” is a common refrain. Yusuf put forth one of the widely-held speculations - that the assailants are disgruntled combatants who want compensation for helping to bring Alassane Ouattara to power.
 
Another prominent theory is that the attacks were carried out by supporters of ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently awaiting trial in the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.

Ivorian Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko, in an interview with Radio France International, accused pro-Gbagbo militants for the crimes, saying they want to disturb public morale and discourage investors.
 
Both explanations are plausible, pointing to the challenges the country still faces, including a security sector sorely in need of reform and a pro-Gbagbo portion of the population angry about the fate of their leader.
 
For residents of Abidjan, the new unrest means a heightened sense of insecurity and a reminder of recent violence.
 
Awa works in a food shop in Abidjan. She and her family live in the Yopougon neighborhood, near the police station that was attacked last weekend. "We are not safe at all. My mother is in poor health and she’s now traumatized by all this," she said.

She added that on the day of the attack she came out of her house at 6 a.m. to go to work and saw the body of a soldier on the ground.

In the violence after the 2010 presidential election, a lot of Ivorians saw a lot of bodies. For one Abidjan resident, who did not want his name used, the recurrent violence might have some unfortunate lasting effects.

He said people who have lived through war, seeing bodies everywhere - unfortunately now they might just be numb to the violence.

The armed men who carried out the recent attacks - including the latest on Tuesday night - are still at large. Government spokeman Bruno Nabagné Koné said Tuesday that authorities are taking every measure possible to assure the people’s security. He said Ivory Coast and the Ouattara government will not be sidetracked by the violence.

For François Joseph Triffé, a trader and marketer in Abidjan, it will be important to carry out an investigation that is free of the deep divisions that still prevail in the country.

He said, "it’s only natural that those in power will blame the opposition. No government will admit that such trouble could come from its ranks - that’s fair enough."

But, he said, the important thing is to get to the bottom of things and come forth with solid proof.

The killings in and around Abidjan follow deadly clashes in Duékoué, western Ivory Coast, which has long been a hotbed of tensions between Gbagbo supporters and backers of President Ouattara.

After the Independence Day break, Wednesday is the first “official” day back to work in Abidjan. People appeared to be carrying out their activities as normal, determined not to be cowed by the unrest but were well aware of the potential for more violence.
 
Reporter Marc-Andre' Boisvert in Abidjan contributed to this report

You May Like

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid