News / Africa

Gbagbo Aide Calls Lethal Ivorian Clashes “Regrettable”

Troops loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo try to disperse supporters of Alassane Ouattara in the popular Aboboa district of Abidjan, 16 Dec 2010
Troops loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo try to disperse supporters of Alassane Ouattara in the popular Aboboa district of Abidjan, 16 Dec 2010
Peter Clottey

A special adviser to embattled Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has described as regrettable the eruption of violence that left at least five people dead and several injured in the commercial capital, Abidjan, Tuesday.

Ambassador Yao Gnamien said President Gbagbo is committed to resolving the ongoing crisis with rival Alassane Ouattara peacefully through dialogue.

“Anytime we have a loss of human life, it is not easy for us. We don’t like this (and) we don’t want this. It is not good for the population, not good for the army and not good for the country,” said Ambassador Gnamien.

“This is why we are always proposing the two leaders to have a meeting so that the population will see that the conflict will be solved.”

Supporters of former Prime Minister Ouattara clashed with security forces loyal to President Gbagbo, as the international community struggles to find a solution to the ongoing crisis.

The clashes took place in a pro-Ouattara neighborhood called Abobo, where a militant youth group that backs Mr. Gbagbo had planned to meet.

Meanwhile, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga is expected to return to Ivory Coast this week in an effort to mediate an end to the impasse. Mr. Odinga serves as the African Union's mediator in the country.

Gnamien said dialogue is the only solution to resolving what he said was a legal dispute over the November presidential run-off vote.

“Prime Minister Odinga has already experienced this (kind) of post-electoral conflict. So, I think that he is full of experience and he will share his experience with the Ivorian leaders. And, I think that Prime Minister Raila Odinga can do a lot in our country because of his experience of power-sharing in Kenya,” said Gnamien.

“First of all, we need to know who is the winner of the election, according to our constitution, (and) according to our legal system. So, we want to know the truth first. And, when we know who is the winner of the election, we will know how they (rivals) can be together to rule our country. And, according to our constitution, it is obvious that the winner is President Gbagbo.”

The international community recognizes Mr. Ouattara as the winner of the vote. But, President Gbagbo insists he prevailed after the country’s Constitutional Court declared him winner.

Mr. Gbagbo has refused to step down and hand power over to his rival despite increasing international pressure, including threats from the West African sub-regional bloc to use “legitimate force” to remove him from power.

Separately, the U.N. refugee agency says 25,000 Ivorians have fled to neighboring Liberia because they fear the political crisis will lead to widespread violence.

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