News / Africa

Western Ivory Coast Remains Vulnerable to Violence

The wheelchair of Amelie Vlonhou, whose body lies nearby, sits beside a burned hut at the Dedjan campsite, near the banks of the Cavally River in western Ivory Coast, May 26, 2011.
The wheelchair of Amelie Vlonhou, whose body lies nearby, sits beside a burned hut at the Dedjan campsite, near the banks of the Cavally River in western Ivory Coast, May 26, 2011.
A new report from the peacebuilding body Interpeace warns western Ivory Coast continues to be vulnerable to the type of violence that killed at least 1,000 people during the 2010-11 post-election conflict. 

The Interpeace report draws from more than 300 interviews and focuses on the western regions of Guemon and Cavally, which were home to the worst massacre of the post-election violence.  The violence began after former President Laurent Gbagbo failed to admit defeat in the November 2010 presidential runoff vote, sparking six months of fighting the United Nations says claimed more than 3,000 lives.

According to the report, the main drivers of instability in the region include longstanding land conflicts, the role of ethnicity in politics, and the weakness of the state, especially the security forces.  But the report also warns of widespread feelings of victimization among the population.

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo attends a confirmation of charges hearing in his pre-trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, February 19, 2013.Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo attends a confirmation of charges hearing in his pre-trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, February 19, 2013.
x
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo attends a confirmation of charges hearing in his pre-trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, February 19, 2013.
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo attends a confirmation of charges hearing in his pre-trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, February 19, 2013.
The region largely supported former president Gbagbo, and the new president - Alassane Ouattara - has been reluctant to rearm the police and the gendarmes.  Instead, the military has taken the lead in providing security.

The report's lead researcher, Severin Kouame, said weak state institutions in the west fueled suspicions the government was only serving Ouattara supporters while ignoring Gbagbo supporters.

“The government must take into account its position.  In the mind of certain parts of the population this government is a government of part of Ivorians. There is a need for the government, the state, to present itself as a government of all Ivorians,” said Kouame. 

A prominent example of state weakness is the case of Mount Peko National Park, which is occupied by a militia group that fought on Ouattara’s side during the conflict.  Since last August, officials have promised at least twice to take action against the militia, led by a native of Burkina Faso named Amade Oueremi. 

Rights groups have accused the militia of carrying out grave crimes during the conflict, including playing a key role in the March 2011 massacre in the town of Duekoue, which was the single most lethal episode of the fighting.  The continued impunity for Oueremi and his men has reinforced criticism that Ouattara is shielding his military backers from prosecution.

Only Gbagbo supporters have been charged, despite evidence that crimes were committed on both sides.

Kouame said Oueremi’s case captured many of the problems facing the region.

“This situation is a kind of manifestation of the collapse of the state.  So the only thing to do is to reinforce the state - to reinforce the state capacity to procure security, to procure justice,” he said. 

Kouame also warned the problems could emerge in other parts of the country.  Although the north is a stronghold for President Ouattara, it is similarly underserved by state institutions, which could lead to some of the same problems.

“The same situation, the same factors exist in the north.  When this kind of union around Mr. Ouattara will be stopped, these differences, these factors will appear.  And we will have the same situation as in the west,” said Kouname.

The report on the situation in the west was produced in partnership with the U.N. Development Program.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid