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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown May Be Extended

Lockdown, which started Friday, aims to allow health workers to locate hidden Ebola patients, educate others on how to avoid the deadly disease More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid