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

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid