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

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More