News / Africa

Battle for Abidjan Rages on in Ivory Coast

Armed pro-Gbagbo soldiers patrol the streets near the presidential palace in Abidjan, April 3, 2011
Armed pro-Gbagbo soldiers patrol the streets near the presidential palace in Abidjan, April 3, 2011
Julia Ritchey

Fighting between forces loyal to Ivory Coast's rival presidents continued for a fourth day in Abidjan, as French troops took control of the city's airport. 

Embattled incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo clung to power yet another day Sunday, while sporadic gunfire was heard on the mostly deserted streets of Abidjan.

France said it has sent in additional troops and secured the airport with U.N. peacekeeping forces, as it continues to shelter more than a thousand foreign nationals at a camp outside the city.  

Abidjan has been in lockdown since forces loyal to Gbagbo's rival, Alassane Ouattara, infiltrated the city Thursday and began a final effort to remove Gbagbo from office.

Gbagbo has rejected all demands to step down since Ouattara was declared the winner of Ivory Coast's November presidential election.

The incumbent leader is still drawing support from a band of loyal forces, including the Young Patriots, a youth arm known for its use of violence and fiery rhetoric.

"At the cost of our blood, we are going to die so that the republic survives, for our children," said an armed member of the group, who identified himself as General La Poudriere.

But the deputy chief of staff of Ouattara's Republican Forces said he was not shaken by such talk.

"It's not the young patriots who worry us," he said. "They're not an army. They are all words."

For now, the Young Patriots are protecting the presidential palace and state television, which broadcast footage of Gbagbo as well as pleas for additional forces to back him.
Human rights groups are urging both sides to avoid civilian casualties. Their warnings came after a grisly report from the Red Cross and Catholic charity Caritas, saying between 800 and 1,000 people were massacred in western Ivory Coast last week. The bodies were found in an town that rebel forces had captured, though it was not clear who was culpable.   

In an interview last week, a spokesman for the U.N. Human Rights Office, Rupert Colville, said it appears some of Ouattara's forces may have been involved in abuses.

“Again it's not particularly surprising," said Colville. "You've got armed forces moving through the country with battles going on in various places, but some of the people on his side appear to be stepping way beyond the bounds of what's acceptable.”

Colville warned that both sides will be held accountable for any violations of international humanitarian law.



You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid