News / Africa

US: Gbagbo Forces in Ivory Coast Begin to Crumble

French troops drive past in a armored car in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 31, 2011
French troops drive past in a armored car in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 31, 2011

The U.S. State Department’s top African diplomat said Thursday that forces loyal to defeated Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo are beginning to crumble. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson is urging both sides in the Ivory Coast conflict to show restraint and avoid urban fighting in the capital, Abidjan. 

Assistant Secretary of State Carson says he cannot confirm reports from Ivory Coast suggesting that the collapse of forces loyal to Laurent Gbabgo may be imminent.

But he says forces supporting the internationally-recognized Ivory Coast election winner, Alassane Ouattara are making sizeable territorial gains and that Gbagbo should seize any remaining opportunity to step down peacefully.

Carson briefed reporters here following the unanimous approval by the U.N. Security Council late Wednesday of a resolution demanding that Gbagbo yield power immediately and all state institutions accept Ouattara as president.

The senior U.S. diplomat said the deterioration of Gbagbo’s position is underscored by the decision of his military chief to seek refuge at the South African embassy in Abidjan, and reports that the head of the para-military gendarmerie has taken similar action.

"There is a clear indication that the military forces of Gbagbo have in fact started to disintegrate," he said. "The rapid pace at which Alassane Ouattara’s forces have been able to move across the country from east to west and up to Abidjan suggests that there have been widespread desertions in the Gbagbo forces. The departure of his army commander lends greater credence to that."

The assistant secretary said the only places where there is significant opposition to pro-Ouattara forces are in and around Abidjan, and he appealed to the sides to show restraint and to make avoiding civilian casualties a top priority.

Carson said he is especially concerned about an undisciplined pro-Gbagbo youth militia which has been manning barricades in and around the capital and been accused of widespread killings. He said if the feared urban warfare occurs it will be the responsibility of Gbagbo and his inner circle, and that they will have to answer for their actions to the world community.

"If in fact there is major violence in Abidjan, and Gbagbo does not step aside, he and those around him including his wife Simone Gbagbo will have to be held accountable for the action that they failed to take to stop it," said Carson.

The crisis in Ivory Coast began after the November presidential election, which both the country’s electoral commission and international observers said was won by Ouattara.

But Gbagbo, the country’s leader since 2000, claimed victory and refused to hand over power. Human rights groups say the ensuing violence has claimed more than 400 lives and displaced as many as one million people.

Carson said he is worried about the prospect of a full-scale civil war in Ivory Coast that would prompt a refugee exodus and undermine the hard-won recent stability in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

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