News / Africa

Ivory Coast Opposition Calls for Gbagbo's Arrest, Ambassador Seeks Understanding

Nico Colombant

The Ivory Coast ambassador in the United States serving for controversial President Laurent Gbagbo says the international community has rushed its judgment on the situation in his divided country.  The Ivorian opposition, meanwhile, is calling for Mr. Gbagbo's arrest on an international arrest warrant.  

After civilians were killed in clashes in Abidjan, and renewed fighting took place Thursday between rebels and soldiers in the southern commercial capital as well as in the center of the country, the Ivory Coast ambassador in the United States, Charles Koffi, expressed grave concern.

"It is just regrettable the situation in which we are," said Ambassador Koffi. "I do not think anyone in Cote d'Ivoire wished to come to this situation."

A U.N-funded election supposed to end the country's eight-year division has instead exacerbated tensions.

Election results from a second round run-off November 28 issued by the Ivory Coast election commission and certified by the United Nations gave Mr. Gbagbo's rival, Alassane Ouattara, a clear victory.  But the Ivory Coast constitutional council threw out votes from the rebel-held north and certified Mr. Gbagbo the winner.

Both men have formed rival governments since then, each saying they are the country's only president.

World bodies, regional groupings and governments from most countries, including the United States, have sided with Mr. Ouattara, calling on Mr. Gbagbo to resign.  A U.S. official reiterated that stance on Thursday, saying Mr. Gbagbo has a limited time to step down.

This angers Ambassador Koffi who says this stance goes against a speech U.S. President Barack Obama made on a visit to Ghana last year.

"He said what Africa needs is not strong men but strong institutions and if you want to build strong institutions you have to start with abiding by the law, the fundamental law which is the constitution," he said.

Successive peace deals for Ivory Coast brokered by the United Nations and the African Union have continuously conflicted with the Ivory Coast constitution, leaving in doubt whether the constitution or the peace accord takes precedence.

Thursday, the Ivory Coast army blocked former rebels, now based in Abidjan, and militants loyal to Mr. Ouattara from marching on state television, as was their plan.

At times, human rights activists say soldiers shot into crowds of unarmed protesters. Foreign journalists counting dead bodies in the city and Mr. Ouattara's side said at least 30 people had been killed during the violence.

A representative for Mr. Ouattara's party in Washington, Yacouba Kone, called for more international help to oust Mr. Gbagbo.

"We believe that the international community needs to intervene right now because it has been [Mr.] Gbagbo's army which has been killing people around town so it is getting worse," said Kone.

Regional groupings, such as the European Union, have started imposing new sanctions against Mr. Gbagbo's government, but Kone says more is needed.

"Besides economic sanctions, we believe they must send a force there to arrest Laurent Gbagbo, for crimes against humanity," he said.

Earlier Thursday, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said those found responsible of killing people in post-election violence in Ivory Coast would be prosecuted.

Moreno-Ocampo has already indicted another sitting African president, Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, for alleged crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur, but has yet to succeed in having him arrested.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid