News / Africa

Ivory Coast Tightens Security After Overnight Attacks

Ivorian soldiers stand guard at the Azito thermal power plant in the Yopougon district of western Abidjan, October 15, 2012.
Ivorian soldiers stand guard at the Azito thermal power plant in the Yopougon district of western Abidjan, October 15, 2012.
Anne Look
Ivory Coast's government said it is reinforcing security after thwarting what authorities said appeared to have been coordinated attacks, Sunday night and early Monday, on military and police installations and a power plant in and around the commercial capital, Abidjan.

Unidentified gunmen clashed with Ivorian security forces late Sunday night in the southeastern town of Bouana, just 60 kilometers outside Abidjan, as they tried to steal weapons from police and military stations. A few hours later, gunmen dressed in military uniforms briefly seized control of the Azito electricity plant in Abidjan, damaging one of its turbines.

Defense Minister Paul Koffi Koffi went on state television Monday night to reassure the population. The situation, he said, is now "under control."

He said they took nine individuals into custody in connection with the attacks: two civilian policemen, two military policemen, three sailors and two civilians. He said they wore military uniforms and were able to disarm the security forces standing guard at these facilities who mistook them for friends. He said the search continues and the government will be reinforcing security at "strategic sites."

There are several theories as to who and what are behind the wave of often deadly attacks that began in August.

Some said failed disarmament following two civil wars and ten years of de-facto division have fed criminality. Others point to discontented members of the security forces, in particular the new and still relatively disorganized national army that includes former rebel fighters who fought on behalf of current president Alassane Ouattara in last year's conflict.

The government blames the violence on loyalists of former president Laurent Gbagbo who lost a November 2010 presidential election but refused to step down, reigniting a civil war that killed 3,000 people.

Mr. Gbagbo's political party, now the lead opposition party, the Ivorian Popular Front, or FPI, says the government is using the violence as a pretext to mount a witch hunt against its opponents.

The party's number two, Laurent Akoun, is currently serving a six-month prison sentence for "disruption of public order" for reportedly calling for civil unrest during a public meeting.

The party's interim Secretary-General, Dr. Kodjo Richard, said arrests of its members are aimed at intimidating and weakening the party.

He said the FPI is a political party, not a military force. He said they have always sought power through democratic means. He said what is going on in the country, the attacks on the military, have nothing to do with them.

However, several elite members of the Gbagbo camp fled into neighboring countries after the conflict, primarily to Ghana. Those pro-Gbagbo exiles are accused of hiring mercenaries, funding deadly cross-border raids against civilians in western Ivory Coast and masterminding a plot to overthrow the Ouattara government.

Ivory Coast only recently re-opened its land border with Ghana after shutting it down for two weeks following raids that it said had been launched from Ghanian soil.

Analysts said it is unlikely that diehard Gbagbo supporters, in exile currently, have the means to actually topple the Ouattara government by force.

However, analysts also said that the ongoing attacks, as well as subsequent accusations and government crackdowns, are undermining efforts to repair years of division.

Dialogue between the government and the opposition has repeatedly stalled out. So far, only members of the Gbagbo camp have been arrested and charged for war crimes and abuses reportedly committed by both sides during the conflict. The Ouattara government is repeatedly accused of "victor's justice."

The United Nations special envoy to Ivory Coast on human rights, Doudou Diene, said an end to impunity, as well as support for political diversity, are fundamental to restoring security.

He said Ivory Coast has already lived the consequences of its deep political divisions. He said political parties must be able to express themselves within a legal, democratic framework to avoid being tempted to resort to other, less than legal, means.

You May Like

AU Takes Action on Boko Haram, Defers on S. Sudan

African Union is moving forward with a request for a military force to stop the spread of Boko Haram insurgency in West Africa; Ban Ki-moon welcomes decision to form a five-nation force More

Mass Protests Held for 58 Killed in Pakistani Shi'ite Mosque Bombing

Thousands of Shi'ite Muslims took to the streets across Pakistan Saturday to protest a powerful bomb blast at a mosque in Sindh province during Friday prayers, killing dozens of people More

Williams Wins Australian Open with Straight-Set Victory over Sharapova

The win is Serena Williams' sixth in Australia, and her 19th overall Grand Slam title 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid