News / Africa

Fighting Reported Near Liberian Border as AU Seeks Joint Meeting

A relative stands in the looted home of Francois Konan Bany. Witnesses say dozens of armed militant youth loyal to Laurent Gbgabo tied up security guards, ransacked the home, and carried away everything of value, including kitchen appliances and air-condi
A relative stands in the looted home of Francois Konan Bany. Witnesses say dozens of armed militant youth loyal to Laurent Gbgabo tied up security guards, ransacked the home, and carried away everything of value, including kitchen appliances and air-condi

Rebels fighting Ivory Coast's incumbent president say they have captured another key town on one of the main roads to Liberia. The fighting comes as African Union heads of state try to arrange a face-to-face meeting between Ivory Coast's rival presidents.

Rebels opposed to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo say they have captured the town of Toulepleu, which is less than 10 kilometers from the Liberian border. Gbagbo government troops say they are responding with heavy weapons in a campaign to stop the rebels from moving farther south through what was previously a buffer zone between the forces.

The breakdown of a six-year-old ceasefire follows increasing violence in the political capital, Abidjan, where Gbagbo militants are setting up checkpoints to block the movement of U.N. peacekeepers. Gbagbo supporters say those peacekeepers are helping rebels who back the U.N.-certified winner of November's presidential election, former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.

Patrice Adou, a member of the Gbagbo party's "Young Patriots," says Gbagbo supporters do not want to see the United Nations anymore because those peacekeepers are attacking, rather than helping Ivorians. So people are setting up roadblocks to stop them.

The U.N. mission in Ivory Coast says it is protecting the free movement of civilians and warns that Gbagbo militants who attack peacekeepers could be guilty of war crimes.

African Union heads of state are inviting both Gbagbo and Ouattara to talks in Ethiopia Thursday. Ouattara says he will go. Gbagbo has not yet responded.

The presidents of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, South Africa, and Tanzania have until the end of March to try and resolve the stalemate.

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group says the African Union needs to take a tougher stand against Gbagbo, whose claim to the presidency is based on a constitutional council of his allies annulling as fraudulent nearly ten percent of all ballots cast.

"We've asked the African Union Peace and Security Council to adopt individual sanctions targeting individuals associated with Gbagbo's illegitimate regime and to fully support the initial ECOWAS decision in its communique last year," said Comfort Ero, Africa program director of the International Crisis Group.

ECOWAS is the West African regional alliance that recognizes Ouattara as the duly- elected leader and is threatening to use military force to remove Gbagbo.

"We have also asked that ECOWAS revisit its earlier decision on sending a military mission to help create a safe environment to put an immediate stop to the conflict and the idea of blocking maritime access to Abidjan and the port of San Pedro as well," said Ero.

Regional and international sanctions against Gbagbo's government are dragging down the economy. There is a shortage of cooking gas and no exports of cocoa from the world's biggest grower. Gbagbo has managed to pay most of his soldiers and civil servants for February despite being cut off from the regional central bank.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid