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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid