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

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid