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

Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More