News / Africa

New Ivory Coast Unrest Displaces Thousands

Injured man lies on ground after clash with police at market in Abobo neighborhood in Abidjan, Oct. 15, 2012.
Injured man lies on ground after clash with police at market in Abobo neighborhood in Abidjan, Oct. 15, 2012.
In the past two weeks, three attacks have killed at least 13 people and displaced thousands in western Ivory Coast.

Local officials say the attacks in Ivory Coast were carried out by armed groups crossing the border from neighboring Liberia.  Ivorian combatants and Liberian mercenaries fled into Liberia when Ivory Coast's post-election conflict ended nearly two years ago, and Human Rights Watch has accused them of involvement in sporadic attacks dating as far back as July 2011.

The post-election conflict was sparked by the refusal of former President Laurent Gbagbo to concede defeat in the November 2010 vote against his successor, President Alassane Ouattara.

The recent attacks have been early-morning raids.  On March 13, gunmen killed two soldiers and five civilians in the town of Zilebly.  A raid on March 21 resulted in no deaths, though three assailants were arrested and weapons including AK-47s were recovered.  Two days later, an attack on a village outside the town of Blolequin resulted in six deaths, three of them assailants.

U.N. refugee agency senior protection officer Jackie Keegan says more than 6,000 people fled in response to the three attacks, and that roughly 2,700 were still displaced.

“Many of these villages were entirely emptied during the post-election crisis and remained empty for months into 2011," said Keegan. "Both the communities that fled and the communities that are now hosting them are really just recovering now from that experience.  And the destruction of villages and also of stocks, including grain stocks, is going to have a significant impact on their ability to reestablish themselves.”

Of the estimated 2,700 displaced people, 1,700 are living with host families.  Keegan noted they might need food “should the situation continue for much longer,” and said the World Food Program is evaluating the situation.

The remaining 1,000 are living on four sites specifically designated for the displaced, where they have received food from local authorities and also vaccinations.

Besides causing the most significant displacement in the region this year, the recent attacks have also disrupted the return of refugees from Liberia.  The United Nations said the March 21 attack prevented a convoy of 160 Ivorians from making the trip back to their home country.

Keegan said the attacks could also discourage other refugees from making the decision to return.

“Refugees, of course, have the right to make a decision about whether they are prepared to return at any moment, and it is natural that after a series of attacks of this sort that the number of candidates for return drops, which is what happened last year," Keegan added. "I think it is very natural - people start to ask questions about the durability of their return.”

U.N. officials in Liberia said this week that they had temporarily halted the repatriation of refugees pending an improved security situation across the border.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs