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.

\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

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid