News / Africa

UN Chief Authorizes Peacekeepers to Deny Use of Gbagbo's Heavy Weapons

Fire and smoke billows from the Akouedo military camp in Abidjan on April 4, 2011, after UN helicopters fired on troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo
Fire and smoke billows from the Akouedo military camp in Abidjan on April 4, 2011, after UN helicopters fired on troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo
TEXT SIZE - +
Margaret Besheer

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday authorized some 10,000 U.N. peacekeepers, supported by a contingent of French troops, to take the "necessary measures" to stop the use of heavy weapons against civilians in the embattled Ivory Coast city of Abidjan, where post-election violence is escalating.  

Fighting intensified Monday, with United Nations forces firing on positions of incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, while the forces of internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara pushed toward Mr. Gbagbo's few remaining strongholds.

The U.N. mission in Ivory Coast, known as UNOCI, says helicopters fired on two Gbagbo army camps, the presidential palace and Mr. Gbagbo's residence in the main city of Abidjan.  France says its forces took part in the attack at the U.N.'s request.

In a statement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that during the past few days, forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo have intensified and escalated their use of heavy weapons such as mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns against the civilian population in Abidjan.

Alain Le Roy, Mr. Ban's chief of peacekeeping, briefed the council late Monday on the operation and spoke to reporters.

"They have been attacking the civilian population and also the peacekeepers.  Our headquarters has been attacked almost continuously during the last three days by small arms and by heavy weapons also mortars, rocket-propelled grenades.  In the headquarters, more than, I think, four peacekeepers have been seriously wounded," he said.

Le Roy said forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo have also attacked UNOCI patrols that have been dispatched to protect civilians and convoys transporting the wounded in Abidjan, resulting in several more injured peacekeepers.  The United Nations has relocated some staff as a safety measure.

In his statement, the Secretary-General said that because of these actions and in accordance with Security Council resolution 1975, which was adopted unanimously last week, he instructed UNOCI to "take the necessary measures to prevent the use of heavy weapons against the civilian population."  With the support of the 1,600-strong French Licorne force, a military operation began Monday afternoon in Abidjan.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Le Roy said the operation to neutralize Mr. Gbagbo’s heavy weapons is ongoing, with the French helicopters conducting night missions.  Le Roy said he hoped it would be a quick operation, possibly ending by Tuesday.

The Secretary-General emphasized that the U.N. mission is not a party to the conflict, and is acting in self-defense and in accordance with its mandate to protect civilians.

The United Nations certified Alassane Ouattara’s November election victory, but incumbent Laurent Gbagbo has refused to cede power.  The U.N. says the post-election violence has killed hundreds and displaced up to a million people.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid