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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid