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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.