News / Africa

    Ouattara Takes Oath of Office as Ivory Coast President

    Alassane Ouattara is sworn into office as Ivory Coast's president on May 6, 2011 at the presidential palace in Abidjan after months of political violence
    Alassane Ouattara is sworn into office as Ivory Coast's president on May 6, 2011 at the presidential palace in Abidjan after months of political violence

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Ivory Coast's president has taken the oath of office, formally ending the violent political crisis that followed November's disputed election. A U.N. human rights team is investigating a possible mass grave in an Abidjan suburb where the new national army has been battling loyalists of the ousted president.

    President Alassane Ouattara swore to respect and defend Ivory Coast's constitution and protect the rights and liberties of all citizens.

    In a brief ceremony at Abidjan's presidential palace, he said it is the start of a new era of reconciliation and unity for all Ivorians.

    Ouattara has been the country's de facto leader since last month's capture of former president Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to hand over power sparked a wave of political violence.

    Gbagbo is now under house arrest in northern Ivory Coast where prosecutors Friday questioned him about his alleged role in that violence. Two French lawyers retained by his daughter were turned back at Abidjan's airport.

    President Ouattara's office says he will have a formal inauguration in the political capital Yamoussoukro May 21. Friday's oath of office followed the constitutional council officially making him president.

    Constitutional council president Paul Yao N'dre says the council endorses the African Union decision to settle the crisis and therefore proclaims Alassane Ouattara President of the Republic of Ivory Coast.

    N'dre helped set off this political crisis five months ago by annulling as fraudulent nearly ten percent of all ballots cast to announce Gbagbo's re-election. The United Nations certified electoral commission results that showed Ouattara won the vote by eight percent.

    N'dre says the council overturned its previous ruling because Ivory Coast is a member of the African Union and recognizes "international norms and standards accepted by competent national organs" as more authoritative than internal decisions.

    Fighting in Abidjan's Yopougon neighborhood has continued as militia still loyal to Gbagbo are holding out against Ouattara's new national army.

    Red Cross officials say they have collected 60 bodies in Youpougon this week. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says investigators are examining a possible link between an alleged mass grave in the neighborhood and a Wednesday attack on a Baptist church.

    Ouattara is moving to restore security in Abidjan. He has already reopened banks and resumed cocoa exports.

    The European Union is delivering $63 million of aid for the agricultural and justice sectors as the first installment of what will eventually be $261 million  in assistance.

    The United States is providing $43 million to help relief groups deliver health care, clean water, and household items to displaced civilians.

    World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic says the priority now is reopening health centers that were closed by the political crisis.

    "In regions of Montagna Moyen Cavally, 55 out of 106 health centers are not operational and five out of eight hospitals. And this is due to the lack of personnel. It is due to looting of drugs and medical equipment or partial or total destruction of health infrastructures. Sixty percent of health workers are absent, and those who have stayed have not received salaries for three months," he said.

    WHO says it is working to help pay health workers in Ivory Coast, especially in rural areas. It says most of the health centers in Abidjan are open but do not have enough supplies.

    You May Like

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora