News / Africa

Ivory Coast Violence Stokes Political Tensions

Laurent Akoun, center, a top FPI official, after his trial at a court in Abidjan, August 31, 2012.
Laurent Akoun, center, a top FPI official, after his trial at a court in Abidjan, August 31, 2012.
Anne Look
DAKAR — Political tensions that brought Ivory Coast to all-out civil war in 2011 are flaring up.
 
Ivory Coast's military prosecutor Ange B. Kessi Kouame has charged 73 people — 19 of them soldiers — in connection with deadly raids against seven military and police installations in the past month. The attacks, carried out by unidentified gunmen, took place around the commercial capital, Abidjan, and in the country's already volatile western regions.
 
The government blames the violence on loyalists of former president Laurent Gbagbo, who lost a November 2010 presidential election but refused to step down, triggering a nationwide conflict that killed 3,000 people.
 
At least 11 people have been killed in the recent attacks.
 
Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), now the lead opposition party, denies any involvement in this month's violence, issuing a statement on Thursday accusing the government of human rights abuses, including harassment and extortion, in what it describes as an attempt to promote a fictitious opposition plot.
 
"[We] will not accept being made the scapegoats of a power struggle," said FPI's president Slyvain Miaka Ouretto in response to arrests of key party leaders in connection with recent security threats. "[We] are committed to peace and have done nothing wrong."
 
Officials have repeatedly accused Gbagbo's political and military allies — many of whom fled to neighboring countries in the wake of his ouster — of plotting to destabilize the government of current Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.
 
According to reports by Agence France-Presse, "three key Gbagbo allies have been arrested since the recent attacks: FPI secretary general Laurent Akoun, former minister Alphonse Douati, and Gbagbo's spokesman Kone Katinan Justin."

Reuters news agency is reporting that Akoun, FPI's second in command, was sentenced to six months in prison on charges of disturbing the peace after a four-hour hearing during which the prosecution requested a jail term of five years.
 
Gbagbo is currently awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity.
 
Security increased
 
Defense Minister Paul Koffi Koffi warned this week the government will not tolerate continued subversive action that he calls an impediment to reconciliation.
 
"[We] do not want more conflict, and continued violence would be considered acts of terrorism, and the government will respond to them as such," he said.
 
Road checkpoints have returned as security around the commercial capital is ramped up, although not to levels preceding and during the previous conflict.
 
"On TV [they say] things are going well, but in the streets there is no reconciliation," said one Abidjan resident, a university student residing in the pro-Gbagbo Yopougon neighborhood where petty crime and intimidation by security forces remains an issue. "Armed security patrols extort money and conduct random searches."
 
Another Abidjan resident, who gave only his last name, Mr. Koffi, says he is struggling to feed his family and pay the rent and his children's school fees. As tensions escalate among the political elite, he explains, all residents want is calm and continued economic reconstruction.
 
"Ivorians need solutions, not endless arguments," said Koffi. "The regime that was in place is gone and there is a new government, [which] now needs to work on improving the daily lives of citizens."
 
Agence France-Presse is also reporting that Prosecutor Kessi has said a trial for the soldiers is scheduled for September 6, but that trial dates for suspects have not yet been specified.
 

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid