News / Africa

Ivory Coast Diaspora Feels Powerless Against Violence in Homeland

Ivorians are organizing a fundraising dinner for civilian victims in their home country.
Ivorians are organizing a fundraising dinner for civilian victims in their home country.
TEXT SIZE - +

\Members of the Ivory Coast diaspora say they feel anguished and powerless as the situation disintegrates in their divided home country.  They say they are trying to help from abroad, but that their relatives increasingly are cut off from the rest of the world.

One of those grieving a relative recently killed in clashes in the Abidjan neighborhood of Abobo is Ivorian national Mamadou Toure who lives in the eastern U.S. state of Maryland.

He blames incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to leave office after elections last year that the United Nations and foreign governments say he lost. "I do not know how this regime keeps killing kids, adults and women.  I do not know what we can do," Toure said.

Toure says his younger brother was sitting in a courtyard a few days ago when he was killed by an explosion.

Anti-Gbagbo armed insurgents have been trying to keep the army away from the Abobo neighborhood.  Residents are calling the area from which tens of thousands of people are fleeing Baghdad.

On Thursday, witnesses say troops loyal to Mr. Gbagbo killed at least seven women who had gathered for a protest, supporting the United Nations recognized presidential winner, Alassane Ouattara.

Toure says he has tried to bring awareness in the United States to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Ivory Coast.  But, he says, that there is not much more he can do.

"We already protested in front of the White House, also in the Congress, the Senate.  We hope that President Obama will help us, and the United Nations.  I am so mad with the United Nations, more than everything.  The United Nations has been in Ivory Coast.  They know what is happening in Ivory Coast.  And the military of the United Nations, they are supposed to be protecting civilians," Toure said.

Another member of the Ivorian diaspora is Ma Diakite of Virginia.  She recently called her brother who lives in the north of Ivory Coast, where water and electricity have been cut off.  She says she feels powerless. "We do not know what to do.  You are so far from back home.  What can we do?  Just pray for the people -- our parents and everybody in Ivory Coast," she said.

Rebels have occupied northern Ivory Coast since 2002, calling for free and fair elections.  But in the last election, the country’s constitutional council threw out votes from the north, saying there was massive fraud, giving the victory to Mr. Gbagbo.

Diakite says it is urgent that all Ivorians come together, regardless of political, ethnic or regional differences, rather than tear the country apart even further.

"You know, everyone in Ivory Coast is mixed.  You have a brother somewhere; you have a cousin by marriage and all this.  It is a mess.   They have to find a solution quickly, quickly.  Killing is not a solution.  When you start a war, you know when you start, but you do not know where the war is going to end," Diakite said.

Another Ivorian living in the United States, Guy Kouamela, is organizing a fundraising event in Maryland after he heard about thousands of refugees at a Catholic mission in the western Ivory Coast town of Duekoue.  Fighting between rebels and Mr. Gbagbo’s security forces have taken place in nearby villages in recent days, forcing aid workers to leave the area.

Kouamela says Ivory Coast is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. "We are here in the United States, enjoying a good situation, enjoying democracy.  But what is going on in Ivory Coast right now, it is very, very bad.  We have people dying and starving.  And according to the United Nations in Abidjan, the main city alone, there are 200,000 refugees," said Kouamela.

Kouamela says concerned people can come to his fundraising dinner or donate money online.

A complicating factor for Ivory Coast's diaspora community is that money transfer services in the country such as Western Union have run out of cash, forcing residents to cross borders to receive money.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid