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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid