News / Africa

Civilians Flee Fighting in Ivorian Commercial Capital

People fearing for their safety evacuate the Abobo district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, February 24, 2011
People fearing for their safety evacuate the Abobo district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, February 24, 2011

More than 30,000 civilians have fled fighting between supporters of Ivory Coast's rival governments in the commercial capital, Abidjan.  Relief officials say bodies in the streets must be buried as soon as possible.

After nearly two weeks of fighting between supporters of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and his rival, Alassane Ouattara, Abobo resident Arnaud Besso had enough.

Besso says he and his family left Abobo because of all the fighting and killing.  He says security forces are searching houses and that  it is a mess.  There are many people who are dead.  There is nothing to eat because all the markets are closed.  Besso says, If there was anyone who could help the people of Abobo,  they would be most welcome.

With no one to help them, Besso and his family left nearly everything behind and slipped out of Abobo, past Gbagbo militant checkpoints into a relatively calm neighborhood near Abidjan's now-closed zoo.  Climbing a steep hill past a long row of taxis they could not afford, Besso and his wife Clarice Yao were happy to be moving on.

Yao says the last two weeks have been very hard on their four children, who range in age from two-years-old to 18.   She says they are crying whenever they hear the bombs.  Because the situation is not getting better and the children are troubled, parents in Abobo are afraid and must find somewhere else to live.

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator here says some parts of Abobo are deserted, with bodies on the streets that must be buried as soon as possible.

U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Melisa Fleming says religious leaders have told them there are nearly 60 families trapped in a church.

"Some families have been forced to hand over money or personal possessions in order to be allowed to leave," she said. "There are many reports of dead bodies, buses burned and shops looted and young militiamen attacking people inside their homes."

Militiamen backing Mr. Gbagbo say they are in Abobo to fight rebels supporting Mr. Ouattara, who is the U.N.-certified winner of November's presidential election.  Mr. Ouattara's party says the uprising in Abobo has not been organized by rebels, but is instead a fight by angry civilians who have been joined by some defecting members of Gbagbo security forces.

Escalating tension in Abidjan has led to the resumption of Gbagbo militant checkpoints, not only in Abobo but also in the neighborhoods of Cocody, Adjame, Yopougon and Treichville.

Gbagbo supporter Idriss Ouattara is the spokesman of a so-called "vigilance committee" in Port-Bouet near the international airport.

Ouattara says those in his group are here to defend their neighborhoods as volunteers who are not asking anyone for money.  He says such vigilance is noble and dignified work, as each Ivorian must now defend the nation and uncover anything suspicious. Ouattara says today every Ivorian patriot is part of the gendarmerie.





You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid