News / Africa

    Gbagbo to Address Ivory Coast on AU Call to Cede Power

    Laurent Gbagbo (file photo)
    Laurent Gbagbo (file photo)

    Ivory Coast's incumbent president is expected to address the nation, possibly as early as Thursday, about African Union demands that he hand over power to the internationally-recognized winner of November's presidential election. The country's political crisis has driven more than 75,000 refugees across the border into Liberia.

    United Nations officials and regional diplomats in Abidjan say incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo is expected to make a televised response to African Union calls for him to leave office.

    The African Union last week endorsed former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara as Ivory Coast's duly-elected president, joining the Economic Community of West African States, the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States in calling on Gbagbo to step down.

    National unity government


    In keeping with that African Union endorsement, Ouattara is now offering a national unity government, a truth and reconciliation commission, and a combined armed forces in what he says is Gbagbo's "last chance" to end this political crisis peacefully.

    Gbagbo has rejected all previous attempts to force him from office. Hamadoun Touré is a spokesman for the U.N. mission in Ivory Coast. He says there is great uncertainty ahead of Gbagbo's response to Ouattara's offer.

    "He offered him a way out in I would say a decent manner,” Touré said. “Is he going to accept it or not? It is hard to say. So far he has refused all calls for him to step down. So I don't know how it is going to be solved this time again."

    Situation deteriorating

    Toure says the humanitarian situation in Ivory Coast is deteriorating as the Gbagbo government has refused U.N. requests for safe passage of relief supplies to more than 300,000 internally displaced civilians.

    "We cannot access the people in need,” Touré added. “We cannot help them. They are scared. They are in a very bad condition. So the humanitarian situation is very, very worrisome."

    Refugees

    U.N. officials say the political crisis has also driven more than 75,000 Ivorian civilians across the border into Liberia, with half that total arriving in just the last two weeks. Aid officials in Liberia's Toe Town say they are struggling to keep up. Augustine Nugba is the local program coordinator for the Catholic charity Caritas.

    "As soon as the place is given and we receive the government's okay, we will start to construct a camp and to remove everyone from here," said Nugba.

    Food shortages, overcrowding, and inadequate sanitation have brought cases of diarrhea and malaria for refugees, including Victorine Tohogninon.

    Tohogninon says that since the refugees came to Liberia, the children and the elderly are getting sick.

    She says the refugees are getting water and food, but the bulgur wheat being provided is not what they are accustomed to eating, so many people have diarrhea.

    It is a long and poorly defended border along the Cestos River. So far, fighting in Ivorian border towns between rebels who back Ouattara and government troops who are still loyal to Gbagbo has not spilled into Liberia, though human rights groups say both sides are recruiting Liberian fighters.

    If the political crisis is not resolved soon, refugee Charles-Camille Kpehia says there will be no one left in Ivory Coast to govern.

    He says whoever the people want, that's the person who should lead the country. No one can say, 'I will get rid of everyone.' Is it the goats, chickens and cattle that such a person will lead?

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.