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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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