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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs