News / Africa

Fighting in Ivory Coast's Commercial Capital Turns Violent Again

Roadblocks set up by rival Gbagbo and Ouattara supporters appear across city, curbing once-vibrant night life

A man receiving treatment at a health clinic after being shot in the hip by security forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo in the Anyama suburb of Abidjan, March 12, 2011
A man receiving treatment at a health clinic after being shot in the hip by security forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo in the Anyama suburb of Abidjan, March 12, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Peter Clottey

Residents in Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Abidjan, say fighting between supporters of the country's two rival presidents has left at least four dead. Witnesses say a group of armed men opened fire on security forces at a road block Tuesday in a middle-class neighborhood of the city.

It is not clear if the dead were supporters of incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo or rival president Alassane Ouattara. Residents say Gbagbo supporters have set up roadblocks all over town.

Fighting in Ivory Coast's Commercial Capital Turns Violent Again
Fighting in Ivory Coast's Commercial Capital Turns Violent Again

Gbagbo has refused to cede power to Ouattara, who is recognized by the United Nations and the African Union as the winner of November’s presidential election.

On Monday, the fighting in Abidjan spread to a pro-Gbagbo neighborhood called Yopougon for the first time since the political crisis began.

The fighting in Abidjan had previously taken place primarily in Ouattara strongholds.

Peter Clottey's report from the northeastern neighborhood of Cocody

Just this evening, the taxi I was in was stopped and searched, my luggage was searched. I had to show my ID to the military, who asked me what I was doing in the country, where I was coming from and where I was going. I was made to understand this is an effort by the Gbagbo government to prevent the rebels from coming in and causing havoc.

Residents of Abobo district, a suburb of Abidjan, flee the quarter carrying their luggage on their heads on February 25, 2011
Residents of Abobo district, a suburb of Abidjan, flee the quarter carrying their luggage on their heads on February 25, 2011

Citizens have dubbed the insurgents “invisible commandos,” who often operate at night. Clottey says they also mix in easily with the population, making it all the more difficult for the military to tell them apart from ordinary civilians.

As a result, night life has ground to a halt, even without a formal curfew.

You [don’t] see people at 7 p.m. moving from place to place enjoying the night life. Because of the crisis, [going out] has been brought down to the barest minimum. Most bars are closed by 9:30 p.m.

Two days ago, the neighborhood of my hotel was attacked and rebels were shot at by the military. Though there were no reported deaths,  it drew the attention of most people in the area.

Many people say they are in favor of some sort of compromise between Gbagbo and Ouattara so life can return to normal.

What I’ve heard, is that the two leaders should hold a face to face dialogue to resolve the issue. Most people I spoke to say the two leaders should not hold the country as ransom, and they were saddened that EU measures blocking trade have been put on the country when, they say, other measures could be taken.

Some pharmacies fear the EU measures will prevent them from re-stocking medicines, including those for treating malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Others say it is unfortunate the international community seems not to know what to do about the crisis, and some accuse the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union of failing to appreciate what ordinary Ivorians are going through at the moment.

On Friday, the AU reaffirmed Ouattara as the legal president of Ivory Coast. ECOWAS backs the imposition of sanctions against Ivory Coast, and has suspended it from all of the regional organization’s decision-making bodies.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs