News / Africa

Gbagbo Army Calls for Reinforcements in Battle for Abidjan

Smoke rises from the city center of Abidjan, April 2, 2011
Smoke rises from the city center of Abidjan, April 2, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Soldiers backing Ivory Coast's incumbent president are calling for reinforcements in their battle against fighters supporting the country's internationally-recognized president.  In the third day of combat for control of the commercial capital, Abidjan, Human Rights Watch is calling on both sides to respect the rights of civilians.

Supporters of incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo used state-run television to call for reinforcements in their battle against forces backing Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized president Alassane Ouattara.

Gbagbo militant Damane Picasse says they are fighting against foreign powers, the United Nations, mercenaries, and the West African regional alliance. He is calling on everyone in the Abidjan neighborhoods of Cocody and Yopougon - men, women, and children - to defend the Gbagbo presidency.

Gbagbo supporters regained control of state-run television after if was briefly forced off the air  and used it to call on all members of the armed forces to join what they say are five units still fighting in Abidjan.

Many of those troops have already defected to Ouattara's side. Gbagbo's army chief of staff took his wife and children to seek refuge in the home of the South African ambassador.

While pro-Ouattara fighters met little resistance in taking the political capital Yamoussoukro and the port of San Pedro, Gbagbo clearly has far-more-determined defenders in Abidjan. As the fight breaks down into neighborhood-by-neighborhood combat, Human Rights Watch is calling on both sides to protect the rights of civilians.

Corinne Dufka heads the Human Rights Watch West Africa office. "The potential for reprisals is quite high, so we are asking that Mr. Ouattara's coalition of forces respect international humanitarian law, ensure that any prisoners that are taken are not summarily executed that they are put in a proper detention facility, and that there are no reprisal killing against civilians who they believe or who did support Laurent Gbagbo," she said.

Dufka says ensuring overall discipline may be complicated by the amalgam of fighters coalescing behind Mr. Ouattara.

"The military forces fighting with Alassane Ouattara are made up of a loose coalition that includes Force Nouvelle rebels who were formerly based in the north," she said. "They include police, gendarmes, and soldiers who have recently defected from Gbagbo's side over to Ouattara's side. And they include as well neighborhood-based civil defense forces which have sprung up over the last couple months. So we are asking that he take proactive measures to ensure that those forces are disciplined, to make sure they have the proper directives to respect international humanitarian law and human rights."

Dufka says pro-Gbagbo forces must also respect those rights. "Yesterday we documented a number of cases in two neighborhoods in which Gbagbo's military were firing out at the civilian population," she said. 'That is in Treichville and near the airport in the Port-Bouet neighborhood."

"In Treichville, that is the base of the Republican Guard, they were firing into the population probably to prevent an advance by Ouattara's forces. The same thing in Port-Bouet. That kind of reckless fire and firing out into the population must be avoided. If there is to be fighting, it needs to be between armed men from one side and armed men from the other side," she added.

The United Nations mission in Ivory Coast says more than 400 people were killed in fighting in western provinces last week, most of them by forces backing Ouattara. The International Committee of the Red Cross says at least 800 people were killed last Tuesday alone.

Watch related slide show

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid