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

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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.
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 US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid