News / Africa

Fighting in Ivory Coast Disrupts National TV Broadcasts

Protesters gather inside the national TV (RTI) headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (File Photo)
Protesters gather inside the national TV (RTI) headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (File Photo)

Fighting between supporters of Ivory Coast's rival governments in the commercial capital Abidjan has knocked state-run television off the air. Government troops and rebels are also fighting for control of western provinces near the border with Liberia.

Smoke from the burning transmitters of state-run television drifts over the Abidjan skyline.

The national broadcaster, RTI, says technicians are working to restore the signal after its programs were "temporarily suspended' because of an attack on its transmission center in Abobo. That neighborhood is a stronghold of supporters of the U.N.-certified winner of November's vote, former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.

Renewed fighting in Abobo between Ouattara supporters and security forces loyal to incumbent president Laurent Gbabgo now enters its second week.

Government troops and rebels backing Ouattara are battling for control of areas that were previously part of a buffer zone in western provinces near the border with Liberia. Rebels say they captured two towns inside that zone late last week. Government troops say they are now battling to regain that territory.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says that fighting, coupled with clashes in the political capital Yamoussoukro and running battles here in Abidjan, is a disturbing escalation of the crisis that risks reigniting civil war.

Mr. Gbagbo's government says U.N. troops killed a police officer Friday. Gbagbo youth leader Charles Ble Goude says Gbagbo supporters are organizing to block the movement of U.N. peacekeepers who he says are helping to transport rebel forces.

Within the week, Goude says Gbagbo supporters will take control of the hotel where Ouattara's living, which is guarded by U.N. peacekeepers.

The U.N. mission here is condemning what it calls a new style of propaganda by Gbagbo supporters. It denies killing a police officer or transporting rebel forces, saying what it calls these wicked lies are intended only to create hatred among Gbagbo supporters to prevent the United Nations from protecting civilians.

The political standoff in the world's largest cocoa grower has pushed cocoa futures to 32-year highs as sanctions against the Gbagbo government drive down the economy.

There is a shortage of cooking gas. The national refinery is having trouble buying crude. The regional central bank cut off Gbagbo's government, forcing many foreign banks to close and raising questions about soldier and civil servant salaries for February.

Before RTI went off the air, the Ministry of Economy and Finance announced that everyone has been paid into new accounts opened at banks the government has nationalized. It released a Monday-through-Thursday schedule for government workers to report to specific banks to receive their salaries.

Starting next Monday, the ministry says civil servants and soldiers will be able to access their new accounts any time they like.

Gbagbo's government has made great use of the national broadcaster since the constitutional council announced his re-election, after annulling as fraudulent nearly 10 percent of all ballots cast. The government has aired a steady stream of commentary denouncing Ouattara and the international community, especially France.

The European Union and the United Nations have both condemned RTI for inciting violence. Given the extent of the fire at its transmitter, the station may be off the air for some time, especially if the economic blockade makes it more difficult to acquire replacement parts.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid