News / Africa

Gbagbo Supporters Say Regional Leaders Bluffing About Military Intervention

Laurent Gbagbo (Dec 2010 file photo)
Laurent Gbagbo (Dec 2010 file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +

Ivory Coast's incumbent government says it is not intimidated by threats to be removed from power by a regional intervention force. West African leaders have replaced the head of the region's central bank to further isolate the incumbent president in favor of the internationally-recognized winner of November's vote.

Supporters of Ivory Coast's incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo say threats of a regional military force to remove Mr. Gbagbo are part of an elaborate bluff to force him from power and install the United Nations certified winner of the presidential election, former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.

No legal standing

Gbagbo spokesman Ahoua Don Mello says regional leaders know they have no legal standing to raise such a force against an incumbent government.

Don Mello says no foreign army can legally attack Ivory Coast. If West African leaders want to go with the use of force or make a declaration of war, then what have they achieved? he asks. Are they going to declare war? Don Mello says it is all a bluff.

Military intervention

Ivory Coast is home to many civilians from countries likely to contribute to a regional force, and West African leaders say they are mindful that their citizens might then be attacked by pro-Gbagbo militants. The army's continued loyalty to Mr. Gbagbo further raises the risks of  military intervention.

Army Chief of Staff, General Philippe Mangou, told a Gbagbo rally Sunday that soldiers will never desert Mr. Gbagbo.

Mangou says the army has told everyone that, having been in the field, soldiers do not want war because they have destructive weapons and know their effects.

Isolation

While continuing to discuss a regional intervention force, West African leaders are moving to further isolate Mr. Gbagbo economically.

They announced last month that they were cutting Mr. Gbagbo's access to Ivorian accounts at the regional central bank. But the Gbagbo government continued to use state funds, chiefly because central bank governor Philippe Henri Dacoury-Tabley is a Gbagbo ally.

When West African leaders finally forced Tabley to resign at an emergency meeting in Mali Saturday they said Mr. Ouattara will name Tabley's replacement.

Gbagbo spokesman Don Mello says Mr. Gbagbo is ignoring the central bank move.

Mello says the Gbagbo government does not recognize the decision taken by heads of state in Mali, and the central bank branch in Abidjan is still under its control. Mello says the Gbagbo government is prepared to withstand any economic sanctions.

He adds that the Gbagbo government has long-anticipated all possible decisions that regional leaders could take against it. He says the proof of that preparation is that government salaries have already been paid.

Sanctions

The European Union has frozen the assets of Ivory Coast's main cocoa ports, its state oil firm, its main energy utility, its national broadcaster, and three banks because European leaders say those firms are helping to fund what they call an illegitimate government.

The U.S. treasury has frozen Mr. Gbagbo's accounts and banned Americans from doing business with his government.

Mr. Gbagbo's government says those economic sanctions will hurt foreign businesses more than Ivorians because they can buy manufactured goods from Asia and South America, but there is nowhere else in the world that has as much cocoa as Ivory Coast.

Gbagbo supporters are mocking Mr. Ouattara's call for a month-long ban on cocoa exports because the Gbagbo government controls Ivory Coast's cocoa fields, its ports, and the security to guarantee delivery while Mr. Ouattara is secluded in an Abidjan resort hotel guarded by U.N. peacekeepers.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
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