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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs