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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid