News / Africa

    Ivory Coast: Ouattara Blockades Gbagbo, UN Finds Massacre Victims

    Alassane Ouattara announcing late on April 7, 2011 a blockade around his rival Laurent Gbagbo's residence and calling on his troops to restore order in Abidjan
    Alassane Ouattara announcing late on April 7, 2011 a blockade around his rival Laurent Gbagbo's residence and calling on his troops to restore order in Abidjan

    Fighters loyal to Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized president are blockading the compound of the country's incumbent leader, who is refusing to give up power. U.N. human rights investigators say they have found more than 100 bodies that appear to be victims of ethnic killing.

    After days of fighting to drive incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo from an underground bunker, Ivory Coast's internationally-recognized president Alassane Ouattara has decided to leave him there.

    Ouattara says Gbagbo has entrenched himself at the presidential compound with heavy weapons and mercenaries, so a blockade has been established around the perimeter to secure the neighborhood.

    No martyrs

    Ouattara officials say they concluded that Gbagbo could not be taken alive, and they do not want him to die a self-proclaimed martyr for democracy.

    "We cannot give this luxury to Gbabgo, to be a martyr," said Youssoufou Bamba, Ouattara's U.N. ambassador. "He will be captured alive. He will be well and alive and respond before justice the crime he has committed."

    Human Rights Watch says Gbagbo loyalists have carried out a campaign of violence against Ouattara supporters since election results were released in December. Gbagbo officials say Ouattara forces killed Gbagbo supporters during fighting in western provinces last week.

    Bodies found

    U.N. human rights investigators say they have found more than 100 bodies in the past 24 hours, some of whom appear to be victims of ethnically-motivated violence. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville says 40 bodies discovered west of the town of Duekoue appear to have been killed by Liberian mercenaries.

    U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos visited the area.

    "Two hundred bodies in one site," Amos said. "Other sites where there are clearly bodies, but we don't know how many. I was taken for example to a well, and there are bodies down that well. So I don't know what the final figures will turn out to be."

    The International Criminal Court says there can be no amnesty for crimes committed during Ivory Coast's political crisis. Ouattara is promising a full investigation into human rights violations and says all those responsible will be punished.

    Taking charge

    With Gbagbo barricaded in the presidential compound, Ouattara is moving to take charge of Ivory Coast.

    He is asking the European Union to lift sanctions on the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro and certain public utilities that were imposed because of the illegitimate nature of Gbagbo's rule.

    The European Union says it hopes to begin easing those sanctions soon.

    Ouattara is asking the minister of mines and energy to restart Abidjan's refinery and ensure a steady supply of fuel. He is calling on security forces previously loyal to Gbagbo to ensure the safety of commerce and the delivery of food to markets and medicines to health centers.

    He is also asking the West African central bank to reopen its branches in Ivory Coast so commercial banks can resume operations and pay salaries as soon as possible.

    Displaced

    More than 300,000 civilians are displaced within Abidjan alone, many of them unable to look for food and water over the past week because of the fighting. With water running low, relief officials are bracing for a possible cholera outbreak.

    U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos says relief agencies also need more help for Ivorian refugees at camps across the Liberian border.

    "With more money, we can deliver more food, provide shelter, offer better medical treatment to those who are sick and much more," she said. "And I'm concerned that when the rainy season starts, which is not too far away, getting the aid in is going to be even more difficult than it is now, because there are serious logistical and transport problems."

    U.N. relief agencies are asking for the establishment of humanitarian corridors inside the country and across its borders to allow safe access to thousands of people who have fled the fighting.

    View related slide show

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.