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
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

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

update Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess 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.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs