News / Africa

UN Says Ivory Coast Incumbent Government Arming Civilians

Inhabitants of the Abobo district in Abidjan flee the area past a United Nations armored vehicle following fresh clashes between forces loyal to rival claimants for the presidency on February 27, 2011
Inhabitants of the Abobo district in Abidjan flee the area past a United Nations armored vehicle following fresh clashes between forces loyal to rival claimants for the presidency on February 27, 2011

United Nations allegations that Ivory Coast's incumbent government is breaking an international arms embargo is increasing tension between government supporters and U.N. peacekeepers in Ivory Coast. U.N. officials believe the government is now arming civilians.

Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo tried to expel the entire U.N. mission, shortly after it certified his rival,  Alassane Ouattara, as the winner of November's presidential election.

But the United Nations refused to terminate the mission because it no longer recognizes  Gbagbo's authority.  The peacekeeping force was expanded, in part, to better protect the resort hotel where Gbagbo troops are surrounding Ouattara.

With government forces battling pro-Ouattara rebels near the border with Liberia and renewed clashes in Abidjan entering their second week, the Gbagbo government is stepping up its campaign to portray the United Nations as an enemy of the Ivorian people.

When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused Gbagbo of breaking an international arms embargo by receiving attack helicopters from Belarus, Gbagbo spokesman Ahoua Don Mello said it was a lie, meant to justify a U.N. attack against Gbagbo supporters.

Gbagbo youth leader Charles Ble Goude says U.N. peacekeepers are waging war on behalf of rebels.

Goude says it is the same thing that happened with U.N. troops in Liberia and Congo and Rwanda.  He says the population was exterminated in the presence of U.N. troops. Goude says Gbagbo supporters will not allow that to happen in Ivory Coast.

Goude is calling on Gbagbo supporters to block the movement of all U.N. personnel.  Three peacekeepers were wounded when their patrol was shot at.  The deputy spokesman for the U.N. mission here, Kenneth Blackman, says the security situation is deteriorating rapidly.

"We have credible reports that civilians have been armed by the Gbagbo camp.  And, this is extremely alarming.  In such cases, armed civilians are considered combatants.  Therefore, I think it is really an alarming development and it makes of course our job that much more difficult," said Blackman.

The United Nations is condemning what it calls a new style of propaganda by Gbagbo supporters.  It denies taking sides in this conflict and says what it calls these "wicked" lies are meant to create hatred among Gbagbo supporters to prevent the United Nations from protecting civilians.

Blackman says peacekeepers are determined to fulfill that mandate.

"Under the rules of engagement which govern the deployment of peacekeepers here, they are allowed to use force to protect themselves, to protect U.N. personnel, to protect U.N. material and to protect freedom of movement.  And, definitely, they will apply these rules," he said.

The secretary-general is asking U.N. peacekeepers to take all necessary action, within their mandate, to ensure that Belarussian attack helicopters and other arms are not used.  U.N. personnel who went to the airport in Yamoussoukro Monday to investigate were turned away by Gbagbo security forces.



You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

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

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs