News / Africa

    Ivory Coast Refugees Question Security of Returning Home

    Children sit outside their family's tent as a neighbor bathes her son in a camp housing more than 2,600 Ivorian refugees, with more arriving daily, in Solo Town, near Zwedrou, Liberia, May 25, 2011.
    Children sit outside their family's tent as a neighbor bathes her son in a camp housing more than 2,600 Ivorian refugees, with more arriving daily, in Solo Town, near Zwedrou, Liberia, May 25, 2011.

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Refugees from this year's political crisis in Ivory Coast say it is not yet safe enough to return home. Ivory Coast's new national army and U.N. peacekeepers are increasing security along the borders after a series of attacks.

    The U.N. refugee agency is helping more than 18,000 Ivorians in neighboring Ghana. They crossed the border because they fear reprisal attacks by supporters of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara. Most of the refugees are ethnic Guere. And most of the Guere backed Ouattara's rival, the former Ivorian president Laurent Gbabgo.

    With Ouattara fighters now part of the new national security force, refugee Boho Manayu Moutine says she is too afraid to go back.

    Moutine says she lost everything. Her husband, her brother, and her children were all killed. Because she lost everything, Moutine says there is no reason to go back.

    Many of the Ivorian refugees in Ghana, Guinea, Togo and Liberia say they have no intention of returning home soon. So relief officials are building more permanent sites. The U.N. coordinator for Ghana, Rudy Sandhu, says that has left a $70 million shortfall in donor funds to support Ivorian refugees in the region.

    "We've used the resources that we got within the country programs, and we've tried to get funding from our headquarters, but the issue now is that since it is no longer an emergency it's becoming a lot more difficult for us," said Sandhu.

    U.N. peacekeepers in Ivory Coast and in Liberia are stepping up patrols along the border following last week's death of 23 people in an attack that Ivory Coast's defense ministry says was carried out by “Liberian mercenaries.”

    The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it is concerned about the upsurge in violence, especially as Liberia prepares for a presidential election next month while still hosting more than 170,000 Ivorian refugees.

    The president of the regional alliance, James Gbeho, says ECOWAS leaders are calling on all Liberian politicians to work toward a free and fair vote so as not enflame tensions that could break out along the border.

    "It appealed to all the stakeholders in Liberia to cooperate in achieving this objective by putting the interest of Liberia above sectional considerations," said Gbeho.

    The head of the U.N. mission in Liberia, Margarethe Loj, says she will need U.N. troops from Ivory Coast to reinforce peacekeepers in Liberia during the vote.

    Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says those additional U.N. troops will join a special Liberian police force to prevent violence during the poll. That has led to criticism from some of her challengers that she is trying to intimidate opposition voters and has not properly budgeted for increased security along the 700-kilometer border.

    "If you are bringing additional troops for whatever the executive deems fit, there are financial implications," said Jewel Howard-Taylor, a senator from Liberia's Bong County.  "Who is going to pay for the extra burden? The legislature needs to know what the extra price tag is especially as we consider the fact that we have by-elections that might or may be 30 percent or 40 percent of those who will be running in this elections. There is a huge outcry now for additional funding."

    The southern border between Ivory Coast and Liberia is an especially troubled region with long-standing ethnic rivalries that played out in both the Liberian civil war and the political crisis that followed Ivory Coast's disputed presidential election.

    Human rights groups say much of the violence during that crisis was carried out by northern militia who were backing President Ouattara. He has ordered a full investigation into all post-election violence as part of a reconciliation process that he hopes will encourage more refugees to return home.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.