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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid