News / Africa

Ivory Coast Fighting Spreads to Abidjan

Unidentified troops drive past in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 1, 2011
Unidentified troops drive past in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 1, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Fighters backing Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized president are battling for control of the commercial capital as the incumbent leader refuses to give up power.

It was a full day of fighting in Abidjan as forces loyal to the internationally recognized President Alassane Ouattara battled troops still loyal to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo. They fought near Gbagbo's home in the Cocody neighborhood and around the presidential palace downtown.

Gbagbo's whereabouts are not known. He has not been seen in public since the fighting began. There was brief TV footage of him on state-run television late Thursday joking with a dozen supporters.

Fighting also took place outside the headquarters of the state-run television. Television broadcasts went off the air Thursday but resumed broadcasting pro-Gbagbo video late Friday.

It is not clear if Gbagbo is inside his home, in the presidential palace or elsewhere. A Paris-based adviser, Alain Toussaint, said Friday that Gbagbo has no intention of ceding power.

The spokesman for the United Nations mission in Ivory Coast, Hamdoun Toure, said the U.N. is willing to facilitate Gbagbo's departure, but he has not yet responded to that offer.

While pro-Ouattara troops moved quickly to capture the capital Yamoussoukro and the port of San Pedro, Gbagbo appears to have far-more-determined defenders in Abidjan, despite the defection of army chief of staff, Philippe Mangou, who has sought refuge with his wife and children in the home of the South African ambassador.

Artillery and rocket-propelled grenades in Abidjan are some of the heaviest fighting of a crisis that began four months ago when Gbagbo refused to accept electoral commission results certified by the United Nations that showed Ouattara won the vote.

Ouattara is calling on members of the Gbagbo military to join his fighters, saying it is time to put themselves at the disposal of the country and return to legality.

The U.N. High Commission for Human Rights is urging both sides to respect the rights of civilians, saying it has reports of abuses by pro-Ouattara forces in western provinces near the Liberian border and reports of abuses by pro-Gbagbo troops in Abidjan.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. human rights office, said, "There should be no revenge taking place. The forces should show restraint. They might wish to bear in mind that an International Commission of Inquiry is already being set up to look into human rights violations in Côte d'Ivoire, and obviously that will look at all human rights violations committed by people on either side. And they might also want to remember that the International Criminal Court is also engaged in Côte d'Ivoire."

The United Nations says nearly 500 people have been killed since November's vote. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging all parties to avoid harming civilians and is repeating his demand that Gbagbo immediately give up power so Ouattara can take charge.

The West African regional alliance is calling on Gbagbo to end the suffering of his country and quit power. The United States says it is time Gbagbo "read the writing on the wall" and immediately step down, as the U.S. State Department says it now appears events in Ivory Coast are "coming to a resolution."

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws 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