News / Africa

Ivory Coast President Gbagbo Orders UN Peacekeepers Out

UN armored personnel carriers (APC) park near the Gulf Hotel in Abidjan, 18 Dec 2010
UN armored personnel carriers (APC) park near the Gulf Hotel in Abidjan, 18 Dec 2010
Anne Look

The government of incumbent Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo, has called for the immediate departure of U.N. and French peacekeepers. Mr. Gbagbo says he will not cede power to U.N.-endorsed election winner, Alassane Ouattara.

The situation in Ivory Coast continues to deteriorate following last month's disputed presidential election.

Incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, says he will not step down, despite violent street protests and mounting international pressure for him to cede power to Alassane Ouattara, who was recognized by the United Nations and much of the international community as the winner of the November 28 presidential run-off.

Mr. Gbagbo's government is now demanding that the 10,000 U.N. peacekeepers and 900 French soldiers currently on the ground in Ivory Coast leave immediately.

Reading a statement on state television Saturday, Gbagbo spokeswoman Jacqueline Oble says the government of Ivory Coast considers that the U.N. Mission in Ivory Coast has broadly failed in its mission by carrying out acts that do not conform with its mandate. Oble says the president of Ivory Coast demands the immediate depart of ONUCI and supporting French forces from Ivorian territory.

The U.N. mission in Ivory Coast, which is currently protecting the Abidjan hotel serving as Mr. Ouattara's headquarters, said early Saturday that masked gunmen in military uniform had opened fire on the U.N. mission's base in Abidjan. No one at the U.N. mission was injured.

Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Ouattara have each set up rival governments and have the support of rival armed forces. The political showdown looks dangerously close to reigniting a 2002-2003 civil war.

On Thursday in Abidjan, rebel fighters loyal to Mr. Ouattara exchanged fire with the army and protests against Mr. Gbagbo led to street clashes where at least 20 people were killed.

The European Union called on the Ivorian army to defect from Mr. Gbagbo to Mr. Ouattara, a move that sparked anger among Gbagbo supporters who accuse foreigners of interfering in Ivory Coast's affairs and threatening its sovereignty.

On Friday, United Nation's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Thursday's violence and warned that any attack on U.N. forces in Ivory Coast would be an attack on the international community.

"There was a clear winner. Power-sharing is not an option," said Moon.  "The efforts of Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters to retain power and flout the public will cannot be allowed to stand. I call on him to step down and allow his elected successor to assume office without further hindrance. The international community must send this message loud and clear. Any other outcome would make a mockery of democracy and the rule of law."

Original electoral commission results said Mr. Ouattara won the November 28 run-off election with 54 percent of votes, but the constitutional court, which is led by a Gbagbo ally, annulled 10 percent of ballots as fraudulent and proclaimed Mr. Gbagbo the winner with 51 percent of votes.

France and the United States have threatened sanctions against Mr. Gbagbo if he does not cede power. ECOWAS and the African Union have suspended Ivory Coast.

In Nairobi Friday, Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, urged the African Union and the international community to step in, arguing that force may be only way to remove Mr. Gbagbo.

"The world cannot expect Mr. Gbagbo to act in the interest of democracy or to make the decision that favors his people," said Odinga.  "A decision must be made for him."

The U.N. High Commission on Refugees says fears of civil war in Ivory Coast have already prompted more than 4,000 Ivorians to flee to neighboring Liberia.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid