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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid